A Twitter oops: Even Twitter can mistweet

One might think that the brainy and wealthy individuals running Twitter would be immune to mistakes when using their own service. One would be wrong. For those who don’t tweet – and even those who do – Twitter has a feature called the direct message, or DM, designed to send private (non-public) messages to friends on the network. Originally designed only for messages between mutual followers, DMs have been expanded somewhat in the past year. All of this is fine. But when a person tries to send a DM and ends up posting a public tweet instead, problems can ensue. Twitter executives are finding out about that today.

According to CNBC (http://www.cnbc.com/id/102214563) Twitter chief financial officer Anthony Noto attempted to send a direct message to a colleague. Attempted, that is, because Noto’s message – intended only for an internal recipient – was instead posted as a public tweet, on view for a whole world briefly before being deleted. Here’s Noto’s message:

I still think we should buy them. He is on your schedule for Dec 15 or 16 — we will need to sell him. i have a plan

Nothing wrong, exactly – except that Noto’s message clearly hinted at a pending attempt at a business acquisition. That kind of strategic issue is something that Twitter no doubt would have preferred not to reveal for bargaining reasons. Market analysts have already begun speculating about which company (Snapchat?) may be in line for a Twitter takeover. It looks like the old World War II slogan, “Loose lips sink ships,” might need an expansion to cover the Twittersphere in the new world of converged communications.

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