Sun 3 Sep 2017

Buy Twitter Proposal for 2018

James McRitchie Public Seen by 152

Last year I filed the proposal at Twitter to study cooperatives. It won 5% of the vote, so can be filed again for next year's shareholder meeting.


James McRitchie Sun 3 Sep 2017

I promised to get back to Twitter in “early September” so that any proposal could be considered by the Board before formal proposals are due. The hope is to reach agreement without going through another campaign, which would likely generate a lot of publicity but would not win a majority vote.

For employees, I would recommend switching from options to restricted shares or shares offered through a tax-advantaged ESOP. Since Twitter stock has been going nowhere, I’m sure employees just cash out options when they can. I’d rather they be shareholders. It would cost Twitter less and they would be more motivated. See my discussion and paper referenced at https://www.corpgov.net/2017/07/broad-based-ownership-at-twitter-academic-perspective/

With regard to users, I think the best step forward would be for Twitter to provide some seed money to help set up a user’s group. Before I went to Oregon, I visited Steve Silberstein who founded Innovative Interfaces. They helped facilitate a users group http://innovativeusers.org/, which has meetings all around the world. Apparently, the company pays for some of the venues but the user’s group is all volunteer. The situation is substantially different than Twitter because members of the user’s group typically use the software from Innovative Interfaces all day long as part of their profession, as librarians. They are really invested in the product and make and vote on recommended changes at their meetings. See enhancement requests at http://innovativeusers.org/index.php/system-enhancements.html.

A user’s group at Twitter might be more like Apple user groups https://www.apple.com/usergroups/ Most were called Mac User Groups back when I was a member. I think the user’s groups helped Apple become a dominant player on personal computers. The user's groups create a lot of brand loyalty and opens communications between users and customers in an organized way that channels feedback and doesn’t overwhelm the company. In a way, it is like having thousands of extra employees. If they vet and vote on enhancements, the company knows the ideas have been given careful consideration and are feasible.

Of course, having a user’s group can also creating a countervailing power base for organizing even more substantive changes, such as changing the ownership structure. Right now we don’t have a list of thousands of names and addresses of people who willingly put in some effort by going to a meeting, chairing a committee, etc.

My two main concerns are:

I’m not willing to devote the time and energy necessary to set up a user’s group myself and don’t know who is. Although Silberstein said they started with a handful of people, I don't know that we even have that.

Generally, in negotiations you ask for something (changes to employee comp and a user’s group) and you deliver something (I won’t file a shareholder proposal). If I am able to reach agreement, I can’t really say no one else will file a shareholder proposal and so far I have no indication anyone else buys into the above strategy.


William Cerf Sun 3 Sep 2017

I own 5 shares of Twitter through an account with Robin Hood. While I'm not at all investor savvy, I want to encourage, help and participate in this project in whatever way I can. Just let me know how I can be useful and how my tiny investment can be helpful.
My reason for investing in Twitter is because I truly believe in cooperative ventures where users and employees own significant shares in a firm.


Danny Spitzberg started a proposal Fri 13 Oct 2017

rally around our own Twitter Terms of Service Closed Tue 17 Oct 2017

by Danny Spitzberg Wed 25 Oct 2017

Dear friends- this is so exciting! Writing our own TOS (Terms of Service) will activate us and build power we can use in support of a shareholder resolution. Of course, our own TOS is valuable in itself, since we can use it for Twitter and repurpose it for other platforms.

Before we start that process, it's time for a call to start drafting our new shareholder resolution! Jim McRitchie presented at Twitter in May and has a proposal for a new one. Please RSVP for the call -- or sign up to join the collaborative editing that will follow -- at https://goo.gl/forms/rITt6ZK1jNlKZt632.

NOTE: if you're only interested in writing our TOS, there's a checkbox in that form for you, too!!

Today is #womenboycottTwitter, a protest against the company's continued tolerance of sexism and other forms of violence. I'm reminded of hearing a talk last year by a manager at collaborative programming platform GitHub, who said they squashed abuse and bullying because their team wrote a code of conduct based on their lived experience and insight.

So, here's a proposal: let's re-activated #BuyTwitter by re-writing Twitter’s Terms of Service, with a trustworthy facilitation team leading the effort, and then push the new TOS on Twitter HQ.

We can carry this out in parallel with the effort to draft a revised shareholder resolution, and use it as extra leverage if/when we need it.

Agree - 20
Abstain - 1
Disagree - 0
Block - 0
21 people have voted (8%)

Danny Spitzberg
Fri 13 Oct 2017

I am largely in favor, but will abstain and instead run a parallel poll on Twitter with @BuyThisPlatform


Ryan M Harrison
Fri 13 Oct 2017

Even if the broader buy Twitter movement should falter, incremental improvements like ToS will make the service ever so slightly better for end users (while unfortunately preserving the oppression and exploitation of capital).


John Richmond
Fri 13 Oct 2017

Sounds good. Time to talk again about how we would do things differently in a way that respects democracy and diversity but sets standards that could be (hopefully) widely endorsed and frequently reviewed and transparent


Matthew Cropp
Sat 14 Oct 2017

I wonder if this could integrate with the code of conduct discussions on social.coop?


Jon Alexander
Sat 14 Oct 2017

Love this proposal - reminds me of the Mexico City constitution crowdsourcing project. Great call Danny.


Eugenia Siapera
Sat 14 Oct 2017

I think it's a great idea and about time. We've been doing some research on racist hate speech and would be happy to share some of our findings


Kirsten Lambertsen
Sun 15 Oct 2017

I think we should open source it. Some inspo:


Emily Martinez
Sun 15 Oct 2017

yeeees to open sourcing it.


Manuela Bosch
Mon 16 Oct 2017

I am happy to facilitate a process to bring a commited team together that fully envisions this project and plans and executes it collaboratively.


Mai Sutton
Tue 17 Oct 2017

I think it's an interesting experiment and is definitely worth trying, especially since working on a ToS or any collaborative principles doc would help us clarify what we stand for as a community of users.


Nathan Schneider Thu 2 Nov 2017

I've just created a new subgroup for the Terms of Service project, which is getting up and running. Anyone who is interested, join us here:



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