I Pledge Allegiance to the Stream

Of, by, and for the people.
Yesterday, I wanted to share a couple of things with you related to authenticity on Twitter. But, due to the limitations of WiFi here in the woods, I was unable to get those links to you. Disappointing for everyone, I know.

Without further adieu, here’s what I would have told you yesterday, had I not wasted all of our limited data availability reading about font felons and streaming stories about a damaged-but-endearing forensic expert from Miami:

Corporate Counsel’s Nicole Hong [no Twitter profile!?] posted a short interview with Twitter’s General Counsel Alexander Macgillivray. He came over from Google to help build and run the department responsible primarily for employment and contracts issues at Twitter. The interview is not very probing, but it does highlight many of the aspects that make working at Twitter so attractive to me, including its emphasis on openness. Mr. Macgillivray seems to be building a team that will actively advocate the continued freedom and independence which make Twitter so indispensable.

Openness is obviously very important to the company, both for users and for its employees. For users, we have to be able to trust the sources that we’re relying on for our news and information (well, except for that one asshole; he’s Portuguese, ya know). But for Twitter’s growing staff, transparency is a vital start to ensuring the longevity of the service. Co-founder Evan Williams emphasized this point at his otherwise less-than-informative SXSW Keynote interview in 2010.

“A window is transparent; a door is open. A window lets people see what you’re doing. A door lets them enter and play.”
Evan Williams- SXSWi 2010 Keynote Interview

This top-down policy of openness is apparent in how Twitter operates. And by building out its legal team with open-Web advocates like Mr. Macgillivray, Twitter is betting its future on the constant and uninterrupted exchange of information between its users, no matter under which regime they reside.

The publishing world recently discovered the importance of Twitter’s authenticity. Viv Groskop posted a piece earlier this month on The Observer detailing Twitter’s role in the publishing world’s hottest topics this year. Since a great deal of the exchange of information occurred through Twitter, the urgency of accurate information grew, and authors and their fans relied on the service to suss out nuggets of truth.

“Unlike some other social media sites, Twitter is fairly bullshit-proof, since it's mostly obvious who the person is and whether what they're saying is genuine.”
Viv Groskop- The Observer, 19 December 2010

Twitter is fast becoming the primary place where we openly debate ideas. It’s one of the most important ways we transmitt and gather information. And this importance is growing every day. As more conversations move to this online platform, relevancy becomes an even larger part of the equation. There is much still left to discuss about building increased relevancy into Twitter, and much left to build. But that is a conversation for another day—maybe on the ‘morrow, on the Web.
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Author  Stephen R. Fox