Buy Twitter

Visual communication strategy for #plaformcoop campaign site to #BuyTwitter, or bye-bye Twitter

PROBLEM

“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?

SCOPE

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.

Campaign goals:

  1. Encourage people to sign a petition urging Twitter to study democratic ownership.
  2. Encourage Twitter shareholders to vote YES on the shareholder resolution proposal to study democratic ownership.
  3. 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.

ROLE

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.

PROCESS

I. Designing a mascot for #WeAreTwitter

This guy, .

conversation on Slack channel about the "hatching chick" emoji

A mascot is born?

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

sketch for animated gif sequence of twemoji birds

Sketch for animated gif sequence

so many birds

So many iterations

three birds with speech bubbles tell people to tweet their vision

Final iteration for email campaign

II. Designing a new landing page

III. 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.

my to do list is written in emoji

Twemoji the 'To Do' list

three birds with speech bubbles say stuff in emoji

Twemoji the language

call to action with Twemoji flair

Twemoji the CTAs

list items with yellow Twoemoji hearts instead of boring bullets

Twemoji the unordered lists

voting instructions with Twemoji flair

Twemoji the voting instructions

poll

Twemoji the polls

Astra Taylor guest blogs on Internet of Ownership

Twemoji the blog post headers

graph of volatile Twitter stock prices with emoji sentiment layer

Twemoji the stock charts

IV. Twemoji analysis / Twitter reactions

Monitoring Twitter in the days leading up to the shareholder meeting was probably the most exciting and fun. Visual language/s come to life , and the internet (if ) shines.

People really Tw/emoji.

poll

Twitter user/shareholder Twemojis his proxy card

response

Twemoji co-op posse in effect

response

Jim McRitchie, presenting the shareholder resolution at Twitter HQ, with Twemoji animal friends

Votes are in. The internet responds.

outcome

Official verdict

response

"Heart Eyes" from Gratipay

response

"Too beautiful", says Nathan Schneider

Even Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey likes it!

response

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, s #BuyTwitter

OUTCOME

A shiny new bold bright fun (but also, serious ) buytwitter.org

iphone iphone microsoft samsung iphone iphone ipad ipad ipad

SUCCESS METRICS

CAMPAIGN GOALS ACHIEVED

  • 4.9% of Twitter shareholders, or 36 million shares, in favor of the proposal, surpassing the target of 3%.

  • Over 6,000 petition signatures.

  • 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”!

CREDIBILITY++

  • 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.