Wed 23 Aug 2017 8:37PM

#BuyTwitter and kicking off 45

DS Danny Spitzberg Public Seen by 124

A former CIA agent named Valerie Plame has started a crowdfunding campaign with #BuyTwitter. Her objective is to buy a controlling share of Twitter ($1b, or appx. 6%) to try and forcibly remove the 45th President of the U.S. Valerie's effort has attracted global news coverage, but after a week she's only raised $15k. See https://twitter.com/ValeriePlame/status/900444754139373569.

Now, for our group, Valerie's efforts open at least two opportunities:
1) clarify our mission and values, using this campaign as a healthy exercise on where we stand, and
2) benefit from the new public energy around #BuyTwitter.

Where do we start?


Hailey Cooperrider Wed 23 Aug 2017 11:10PM

Really interesting. Reading the thread, there were a lot of "this is anti free speech" claims, which it might help to dispel.

Also another person arguing that you don't need a controlling share to get this done, and a strategy of influencing current board and shareholders with a minority share could work. Seems like people in this group bring a lot of knowledge and insight about that arena, and help her hone her strategy.

Maybe reaching out to Ms. Plame and showing the depth of knowledge and strategic thinking this group can offer? I'm guessing she also doesn't have much of an idea for how the company would be run after "we" buy it. She might really welcome platform coop models and methods.

She of course brings a lot of visibility, but maybe there's a reason to avoid allying with her?


Jessica Riley Thu 24 Aug 2017 12:51AM

Plame is a former CIA agent. Buying Twitter seems a strange 'first step' to get Trump kicked off Twitter. Why not use her notoriety to start a petition to hand to the board? Wouldnt that be easier? I think reaching out to her and informing her of our knowledge and advanced campaign already in progress is a good idea. We should consider asking her questions about her motivations before offering to combine our efforts. I don't know if someone who worked for the CIA would welcome platform coop models at all.


Rosen Dimov Thu 24 Aug 2017 5:29AM

Hi I agree that working with Valerie has both pros and cons. However even in the worst case that she just tries to abuse #BuyTwitter this will attract more supporters to the movement and create an immune system against potential hijackers. Having said that, I already shared Valerie's fundraising call with my network and my organisation's community. I would be happy to see and contribute to a dialogue between her and a contact group from us. :bird:


Samuele Bozzoni Thu 24 Aug 2017 1:27PM

For this series of reasons, I think it would be wise to look for a discussion and a collaboration with her!
What moves this person does not seem to me very clear and even the fact she is moving individually makes me think she's looking for some form of personal public visibility, but maybe we should try to open a space of discussion directly with her


Nathan Schneider Thu 24 Aug 2017 4:01PM

I'm a bit wary of turning #buyTwitter into something so politically partisan. On the other hand, this is a level of momentum it would be great for us to participate in.

The big question for me: Is this Plume effort going to involve cooperative ownership and governance of the shares being bought? That's critical.


Matthew Cropp Fri 25 Aug 2017 3:23AM

So, checking google searches and the hashtag, her campaign seems to have eclipsed any mention of the co-op model along influential vectors. Which seems to mean, before losing a bunch of co-op related content to a crowd-out memory hole, we should make a point of asking her and generally mixing #platformcoop back into #buytwitter. One Tweet @ Her Here


Danny Spitzberg Fri 25 Aug 2017 5:47AM

Who here wants to help write a Twitter bot that automates the enormous and grueling labor of replying to tweets mentioning #BuyTwitter and pointing them to a cooperative alternative, a long game for democracy instead of a short game publicity stunt?


Chris Cook Fri 25 Aug 2017 9:51AM

On the subject of 'son of Twitter' http://nirvana.io/?lrRef=O6SWTw


Alan Cyment Fri 25 Aug 2017 12:53PM

I can! Let's talk on Slack

I've never developed one, but I'm a quick learner


Emily Martinez Fri 25 Aug 2017 4:55PM

Hi Alan, Don't know if this is of any help: https://botwiki.org/tutorials/twitterbots/ Also, this tutorial by Daniel Shiffman helped me a lot. If you follow Daniel's tutorial, you can probably skip a lot of the Processing examples, and just follow his setup for node + Twitter API + Twit + Heroku. It's easy, and fun.


Adriel Hampton Fri 25 Aug 2017 2:28PM

Plame's effort is consultants paying themselves by activating their list. If it serves your cause, use it. If not, it's a total scam.


William Cerf Fri 25 Aug 2017 2:29PM

I have at least two concerns. Buying a media platform with the intent to suppress free speech, especially speech you dislike is a very slippery slope. I really don't think we should go there. The CIA is a very dangerous organization that is part of the deep, dark state which is attempting to suppress cooperation and freedom. Valarie Plame may not be an ex-agent but an agent provocateur.
I say Shame of Plame!


Matthew Cropp Fri 25 Aug 2017 2:53PM

I poked her on twitter with the co-op idea and she responded cautiously positively.


Emily Martinez Fri 25 Aug 2017 6:28PM

I’m wary.

First, I don’t like that #BuyTwitter feels like it is being hijacked, and that we are now politely trying to engage Plame to see if our ideas align. It’s clear to me that she has her own agenda, and that using this hashtag is a convenient way for her to leverage it.

I’m also not thrilled about the idea of crowdfunding $1B to fund a “benevolent” shareholder who will act on everyone’s behalf; nor do I think that buying a media platform to suppress free speech is a good idea, as William pointed out.

Even in the best of cases (working together to leverage more media attention), it can spell disaster for our cause, when the public imagination decides whatever it decides after they learn that an Ex-CIA Agent Crowdfunds a $1B Shareholder Coup to #BuyTwitter and #BanTrump <— clickbait headline + ideological black hole + ground swell of media = good luck trying to un-explode that :bomb:

My intuition is that this group needs to be very clear on what it ultimately wants, and that this position needs to be stated explicitly, or else we run the risk of losing credibility and/or giving away our power.


Adriel Hampton Fri 25 Aug 2017 6:33PM

Also, you have a real leverage point right now - "Trump Haters Try to Take Over "#BuyTwitter Co-Operative" is a good click bait headline, too.

Adriel Hampton / Principal ConsultantThe Adriel Hampton Group Ltd. ( http://adrielhampton.com ) / 213-326-4627

( http://ahgnow.com )

LinkedIn ( http://linkedin.com/in/adrielhampton ) | Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/adrieloakhampton ) | Twitter ( http://twitter.com/adrielhampton )


Danny Spitzberg Sat 2 Sep 2017 5:27PM

A few weeks later, and I see no significant impact on anything related to our efforts. Searching #BuyTwitter is now a mess, Valerie Plame Wilson's Twitter page/account comes up before @BuyThisPlatform, and many reporters now think of both campaigns, at best. But if our general goal is to democratize Twitter, not to kick off 45, we've got more time and space in which to work.

One possible proposal: drafting a short statement about our effort could be useful, with points about how its more diplomatic and democratic than Valerie's crowdfunding campaign (she may have earned Mark Hamill's endorsement, but her crowdfunding campaign has 0.00008% of its goal.)

Another proposal: forming a "user union" is another effort some folks have talked about.

Thoughts? Feelings?


James McRitchie Tue 5 Sep 2017 2:25PM

Yes, as user's union or simply a user's group could go a long way toward forming a more engaged and cooperative forum for users. Such a group could probably get seed funding from Twitter itself, in the way of meeting rooms and guest speakers, since a user's group would be a great place to vet ideas like who should be banned, how to customize Twitter to meet individual needs, etc. See my post at https://www.corpgov.net/2017/07/broad-based-ownership-at-twitter-academic-perspective/


Adriel Hampton Sat 2 Sep 2017 5:31PM

I like user unions. Sliding scale annually. Fund organizing and parties, transparently.

Adriel Hampton / Principal ConsultantThe Adriel Hampton Group Ltd. ( http://adrielhampton.com ) / 213-326-4627

( http://ahgnow.com )

LinkedIn ( http://linkedin.com/in/adrielhampton ) | Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/adrieloakhampton ) | Twitter ( http://twitter.com/adrielhampton )


Nathan Schneider Mon 4 Sep 2017 8:07PM

Yeah, user union.


Vica Tue 5 Sep 2017 11:37AM

Yes. Still think a user union is an important stepping stone towards what we would like to see happen. I also find quite exiting the idea of experimenting with different forms of unionism, or even hybrids of unions and co-ops.
Unfortunately though I am 9 months pregnant, so will not be able to contribute much in the coming months!