Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal

01-04-2016 My Mobile

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Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal

Books about tech companies tend to be generally either carefully written memoirs, dry, case-study-like affairs or hagiographic and a trifle over the top in terms of praise. But there are a few exceptions to this rule and Hatching Twitter, which traces the story of the micro blogging network that is a part of the lives of millions of people all over the world, fortunately falls into this category. The term that needs to be stressed here is "story" for Nick Bilton has constructed his book not like a piece of reportage but like an actual narrative, bringing the social network to life like perhaps no other book about it has. You know that the book is different by the time you have finished reading the first few paragraphs - they describe Twitter's former CEO Evan Williams throwing up in a garbage can.  And that gives you a flavour of the book - it is feisty, fast and well-written, sprinting through the history of the micro blogging service at breakneck speed. Incidents and conversations are retold as they would be in a novel, and not in the classic "reported speech" which makes for some lively reading. This is a book about Twitter the organisation and the social network, and not per se the technology behind it. It is about the people behind the organisation, and that is what makes the book an entertaining read.

There is trivia galore here, ranging from battles between senior executives in the company (sometimes about matters as trivial as one of them's habit of leaving work early for yoga sessions) to meetings with the competition (there is a brief but very entertaining meeting with Mark Zuckerberg). All written in language that is so easy to absorb and understand, even for the non-geek, that you will be racing through the pages and will be genuinely surprised when it ends. And of course, stunned at just how chaotic and yet insanely innovative the world of Twitter is. Hatching Twitter in sum does for Twitter what Ben Mezrich's The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook did for Facebook. Now, all we need is for someone to make a Hollywood adaptation of it. In the meantime, read the book. It might shock you in some places, amaze you at most, but is guaranteed to keep anyone who has used a Twitter account totally riveted. We are just hoping that Bilton updates it in the coming years as we strongly suspect that the Twitter story is far from being over and judging by what we have read in Hatching Twitter, there is plenty happening behind the scenes at the network that restricts you to 140 characters per message.

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