Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ten Things Microsoft Will Do To Screw Up Twitter

You know me.

I’m nothing if not a social guy.

I blog. I text. I IM (on five different networks no less).  I Skype.  I Stumble. You can find me on Digg. I’m on Facebook. I’m on Buzz (Ok, that just sort of showed up one day like some demented robot from the future and started befriending everybody I’ve ever even remotely thought about emailing, ever. But hell, that’s my point – I’m so social I’m spontaneously adding social networking connections without even trying. They’re like new neurons in my huge giant extroverted brain).

And I am, of course, on Twitter.

Now, I’ve written about Twitter before.  I love Twitter, I do.  In addition to its social networking aspects, it’s just so damned useful. It’s like a superpower right in your phone. Like X-ray vision and The Force or something. Saturday morning I got Tsunami warnings following the Chilean earthquake – Great Scott! What’s this? A giant wave is headed towards Gotham! –  and the all-clear when the wave passed without damage here on the Alaskan coast. I knew that friends in Hawaii were safely on the 35th floor of their hotel and waiting it out. Later that same day I got tweets from the Anchorage bowl telling me where to find parking and what events were happening at the Fur Rendezvous.  I follow local news feeds and get breaking information as it happens.  Like me, my friends in the UCF send out tweets when they update their various blogs and I can check them from my phone (though it’s hard, if not impossible,  to comment on a Blogger or Wordpress blog from my phone – which is why I haven’t been commenting much lately, UCFer’s. Sorry). Late at night after people in more decent parts of the country have gone to bed, Alaskan tweeters @RedRummy and @Mariancall and @mudflats keep me amused. Also, a lot of really hot girls want me to look at their pictures for some reason, apparently they’ve got the impression that I’m an art critic.

I’ve become dependent on Twitter.

And as usual, once I become dependent on something and get accustomed to it just the way it is and decide I can’t live without it – somebody comes along to fuck it up.

It’s inevitable.

Guess who’s snooping around Twitter?

Microsoft, of course.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even has a secret Twitter account so he can follow local emerging tech trends (and then squash them like tiny crying baby bunnies flattened beneath Ballmer’s size-14 hobnail boots. Tiny helpless bunnies. Tiny. Helpless. Stomp. Stomp).  Last weekend he expressed interest in the Silicon Valley upstart success when questioned at SMX West.  Ballmer said he wasn’t sure if Microsoft would eventually take a more active role in Twitter or not – or even acquire the company outright.

Great. Twitter is doomed.

It is. Doomed.

Don’t roll your eyes.  Listen, hear that? It sounds like the faint whimpering of tiny crying baby bunnies.

Look, here’s proof:

"As an independent they have a lot of value and credibility with the user community. They want to be an independent company," Ballmer said.

They want to be an independent company.  They want to be independent.  You know what that means, folks.  Remember the tiny helpless bunnies? Stomp. Stomp. Squish!

You know what will happen when Microsoft acquires Twitter.  You know, boy oh boy don’t you just?  The folks in Redmond have been putting the twit into computers for years. This will be a natural.

Allow me to make a few predictions:

* Tweets will still be 140 characters long, except sometimes, randomly, they’ll be either 33 characters long, or 10,165 characters – exactly 10,165 characters. Only.

* Tweets will now carry viruses.

* Twitter will continue to work with all browsers, except sometimes you will only be able to access your account with IE6.

* Oddly, top trending topics will always be:







almost as if they were pinned to the top of the list.

* A new dialog box will be added to the interface that asks “Some tweets could be dangerous and lead to hurt feelings, lost employment, social faux pas, and the heartbreak of psoriasis.  Are you sure you want to send this tweet?” If you are still foolish enough to chirp your tweet, you’ll have to enter a password for security purposes. Occasionally, for no reason you can fathom, you will be required to update your security certificates before sending a tweet.

* In order to prevent your personal Twitter account from being hacked more than five times a day, you will be required to download 29 gigabytes of Twitter “updates” every Tuesday.

* Twitter will come in five flavors:

- Twitter  Basic: which allows you to follow Microsoft Live tweets. Only. (Comes integrated into Windows. Get up-to-the-minute info on the latest Microsoft products from Steve Ballmer himself!).

- Twitter Home: which, due to a known yet uncorrected bug,  automatically allows botnets to remotely take control of your computer ($99 for the upgrade from other social networking media, licensed for 1 computer). Don’t worry the bug will be fixed in Twitter Service Pack 3.

- Twitter Premium: you can only follow or be followed by people with Microsoft Live Space accounts – because that’s where all of your friends are!  It’s like Friendster, only not as hip.

- Twitter CE Mobile:  Tweet ala cart, $0.95 per tweet from your Windows Mobile Platform – Don’t panic iPhone users,  you can buy the WindowsCE Mobile Emulator App (Great Scott! Windows! On your iPhone!) which may require a hardware upgrade and the ability to curse like a sailor.

- Twitter Ultimate Nuclear A1 Stupendous: exactly what you have now, except it’s $29.95 per month, two year contract minimum.  Family plans available.

* Each Tweet will take ten minutes to load – but there’s a cool new 3D hourglass to keep you entertained.

* Instead of the WhaleFail screen and a helpful message indicating that the Twitter servers are overloaded, Twitter will now lock up your browser and present a message that stubbornly says “Not Responding.”  Your browser will have to be terminated via the process viewer and restarted.  Every time. Every single time. Every single fucking time. Sob.

* The Twitter API will no longer work with third party applications. However an exciting new Microsoft social networking interface is available, introducing Twitter Bob*…


Hell, let’s just hope Ballmer doesn’t decide to go stomping after Facebook.



Damn. Damn it all to hell.


*A twitter version of the beloved Microsoft “Clippy” is in the works.


  1. Oh noze...not that stupid Clippy! Ack!!

    [runs screaming away from the computer]

    See, I'm not a twit...I knew there was a reason I am not assimilated into Twitter.

  2. but...how can you says such things when they have done such a good job with the Zen, and plays-for-sure and MSN search, oops I mean Live-Search..

    ..um, I mean Bing....

    (never mind)

  3. Jim, couldn't you have said that in 140 characters or less?

    micap: The wind blew micap off.

  4. We don't call Microsoft The Evil Empire for nuttin'. It's earned its street cred title.

  5. And I can remember when Jim wasn't on FB or Twitter. I feel so old.

    habis = a Scottish dish you eat when you have a bad cold


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