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A Summary Of Twittergate

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So here we are a day after Twittergate broke and what is the result? Not much really. Everyone is talking about it in some way or another. Was it lax security at Twitter? Was it a security issue with Google Apps? Did TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington go too far? What are the ethical implications of obtaining documents illegally then using them to advance your own cause? Will the new show that Twitter develops for TV be called “Twitter Legal”? Why do hackers find it cool to mess with other people’s stuff and so much more.

Let’s sum it up:

The Big Winner – The award for getting the most mileage out of what is most likely a non-story goes to Michael Arrington of TechCrunch. I would really like to see the traffic numbers that were generated by his manipulation of this situation. From a viral Internet perspective he couldn’t have played this any better. He put out the ‘feelers’ and baited everyone by whetting the appetites of all of the mouth breathing tech types with promises of never before seen Twitter information. Most people took the bait and the exposure for the blog was tremendous. What has been published thus far (old financial documents and a treatment for the Twitter show) has been ho-hum. He is still stoking the flames with talk of lawyers meeting with lawyers etc. Well played. Lots of pub, no real harm. The downside is that if TechCrunch capitulates or doesn’t publish everything readers will wonder if they are being played in the future.

Another winner – Twitter actually comes out of this one OK in my opinion. This looks, at least at this point, to be a no harm, no foul deal that has just generated more buzz. Biz Stone got a chance to put another apologetic “Look we’re human too” post and probably gain more sympathy for Twitter as a target rather than ire for Twitter as being less than buttoned down security wise. Stone wraps his blog post with

Nevertheless, as they were never meant for public communication, publishing these documents publicly could jeopardize relationships with Twitter’s ongoing and potential partners. We’re doing our best to reach out to these folks and talk over any questions and concerns. However, our goal remains focusing on the most important business at hand—creating value for users and building the best possible Twitter service.

The “Hey, we may have had a hiccup but we’re working hard toward the goal of making the world a 140 character experience” ethos gets more mileage than if there were any actual problems with this whole deal.

Taking a hit whether it is real or not – Google actually stands to come out of this with more damage whether it is real or not. With Google Apps being used by Twitter there can not be enough “It had nothing to do with Google and the cloud computing services” to offset the naysayers about security and these apps for the enterprise. Once again, it may not be deserved but it can have an impact regardless.

Big losers – As usual, the readers and followers of this kind of stuff. All in all it looks like we are all being played a bit and happily going right along with it. I guess there isn’t much else to talk about and this makes for some interesting cocktail talk but in the end has it affected your view of Twitter? If you are using Twitter are you really concerned about the security of your information? Probably not.

Be sure that there will be more on this and we’ll be talking about it. It would be irresponsible not to. While in retrospect it may not be real news it is of interest to some degree. Hey, at least we get to see how good the new law team over at Twitter is, right?

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A Summary Of Twittergate
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