“If you ask Wall Street, Twitter is in trouble,” writes Nathan Schneider, in an op-ed that caught a wave of attention last fall when rumors of a possible aquisition were abound. Schneider goes on to provocatively propose:
The trouble is, Wall Street’s economy has become Twitter’s economy, even if Wall Street’s view of the platform’s usefulness isn’t necessarily our view. But what if we changed Twitter’s economy? What if users were to band together and buy Twitter for themselves?
When the Internet responded to this challenge with , a grassroots campaign to #BuyTwitter was born. Organizers ran an online petition, and submitted a formal shareholder resolution to be voted on at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. Both the petition and resolution propose that Twitter study ways to build user loyalty and increase shareholder value, through broad-based ownership and accountability similar to a co-op.
As part of this volunteer campaign effort, I helped to create a visual language and redesign the campaign site: buytwitter.org.
- Encourage people to sign a petition urging Twitter to study democratic ownership.
- Encourage Twitter shareholders to vote YES on the shareholder resolution proposal to study democratic ownership.
- Broaden awareness and mobilize action around the #platformcoop movement, i.e. promote alternative business models rooted in democratic values for the digital platforms we use and depend on.
Visual Communication Strategist, Visual Designer, Front-End Developer
Website Team comprised of four other core contributors – Danny Spitzberg, Josh Levinger, Mai Sutton, Nathan Schneider – responsible for digital campaign strategy, UX, PM, development, and copywriting. In addition, another dozen individuals contributed valuable feedback on multiple design iterations.
I. Designing a mascot for #WeAreTwitter
This guy, .
The “little chicken” emoji, or as Emojipedia describes, “cute baby chicken hatching from its egg and seeing the world for the first time”, is elected to represent a new vision for Twitter.
But one little bird is not a “we”, so I made three:
+ = #WeAreTwitter
II. Twemoji strategy
Let’s be honest, there is nothing fun or cute about trying to understand the politics of shareholder meetings, or proxy voting, or how an extractive business model can be restructured to be more democratic, or how it is that a company making $500M every quarter is considered a “failure” by its investors. In my imagination, trying to make sense of any of these things conjures images of reading reams of fine print, doing taxes, or voting at the polls, in Florida, in the 90s.
To remedy the overwhelming sense of opaque, institutional overtones, while at the same time paying homage to Twitter + emoji, we decided to Twemoji all of the things.
A shiny new bold bright fun (but also, serious ) buytwitter.org
CAMPAIGN GOALS ACHIEVED
4.9% of Twitter shareholders, or 36 million shares, in favor of the proposal, surpassing the target of 3%.
87% increase in site traffic during the final two weeks of the campaign.
Nearly 101 articles featuring #BuyTwitter including The Financial Times, WIRED, Salon, Recode, Vanity Fair, and The Co-op Water Cooler.
Well over 1,000 tweets in the final week of the campaign about #BuyTwitter, including a YouTube video of a supporter singing and playing, “Buy Twitter, or Bye Bye Twitter”!
A letter signed by coop allies, including the International Co-operative Alliance, Co-operatives UK, the National Cooperative Business Association, and Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada.
Another letter by the International Co-op Alliance, on behalf of 2.6 million enterprises and 1 billion members worldwide.
A poll finding that more than 2 million UK Twitter users would consider investing in a democratic Twitter.
Even Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey likes it!