Twitter cofounder Biz Stone tells tweeters to take a break

thoughtful biz stone

At the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Stone reflected on the history of Twitter and its recent data controversy. 

There is such a thing as being on Twitter too much—and one of the guys who created the buzzing community agrees.

Twitter cofounder Biz Stone told an audience in Montreal this week that some users admit to using Twitter for 12 hours straight. While there’s something to be said for there being a community that fosters that level of devotion, Stone urged those who use Twitter that often to stop doing so as it “sounds unhealthy” to him.

Rather, he’d prefer that people dipped in and out of Twitter throughout the day.

“I like the kind of engagement where you go to the website and you leave because you’ve found what you are looking for or you found something very interesting and you learned something,” he said, according to The Guardian. “I think that’s a much healthier engagement. Obviously, we want you to come frequently.”

Stone, who no longer works at Twitter on a day-to-day basis, claimed in his talk that he had no idea Twitter would become the behemoth it is today.

“When we started it, nobody thought it was a very good idea,” he said, according to the Montreal Gazette. “But we kept working on it.”

Stone told guests at a Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal business luncheon that the first indication he and his cofounders were really on to something with Twitter was at South by Southwest in 2007.

“One person tweeted to tell a few people to meet him at a bar, and in the eight minutes it took him to walk to that bar, it had filled to capacity and there was a line out the door,” he said.

Bringing the Twitter timeline up to date, Stone reflected on last week’s revelation that Twitter was storing information from the contact lists of iPhone users for 18 months. (The company has since apologized and updated its user agreement. Path faced a similar controversy.)

He claimed when Twitter and companies like it screw up, it’s best to come clean and admit mistakes. He added that social media sites like Twitter help companies seem more approachable to their customers.

“I think vulnerability is essential,” he said. “For so long, companies and brands thought they needed to seem bulletproof. I think when a brand uses Twitter, they’re able to communicate when they make a mistake. I think when you do things like that you reveal you’re open and honest and willing to change and admit to your mistakes. I think brands are using it to really build trust with consumers.”

Vulnerability, perhaps, is something Stone knows about all too well after he accidentally spammed a bunch of his Twitter followers in October.

Photo by stewtopia

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