More on Marketing
1 year ago
This clever Instagram marketing technique increased my sales to $30,000 per month.
No Paid Ads Required
I had an online store. After a year of running the company alongside my 9-to-5, I made enough to resign.
That day was amazing.
This Instagram marketing plan helped the store succeed.
How did I increase my sales to five figures a month without using any paid advertising?
I used customer event marketing.
I'm not sure this term exists. I invented it to describe what I was doing.
Instagram word-of-mouth, fan engagement, and interaction drove sales.
If a customer liked or disliked a product, the buzz would drive attention to the store.
I used customer-based events to increase engagement and store sales.
Here are the weekly Instagram customer events I coordinated while running my business:
Be the Buyer Days
Be the Buyer Days: How do they work?
Be the Buyer Days are exactly that.
You choose a day to share stock selections with social media followers.
This is an easy approach to engaging customers and getting fans enthusiastic about new releases.
First, pick a handful of items you’re considering ordering. I’d usually pick around 3 for Be the Buyer Day.
Then I'd poll the crowd on Instagram to vote on their favorites.
This was before Instagram stories, polls, and all the other cool features Instagram offers today. I think using these tools now would make this event even better.
I'd ask customers their favorite back then.
The growing comments excited customers.
Then I'd declare the winner, acquire the products, and start selling it.
How do flash sales work?
I mostly ran flash sales.
You choose a limited number of itemsdd for a few-hour sale.
We wanted most sales to result in sold-out items.
When an item sells out, it contributes to the sensation of scarcity and can inspire customers to visit your store to buy a comparable product, join your email list, become a fan, etc.
We hoped they'd act quickly.
I'd hold flash deals twice a week, which generated scarcity and boosted sales.
The store had a few thousand Instagram followers when I started flash deals.
Each flash sale item would make $400 to $600.
$400 x 3= $1,200
That's $1,200 on social media!
Twice a week, you'll make roughly $10K a month from Instagram.
$1,200/day x 8 events/month=$9,600
Flash sales did great.
We held weekly flash deals and sent social media and email reminders. That’s about it!
How are mystery boxes put together?
All you do is package a box of store products and sell it as a mystery box on TikTok or retail websites.
A $100 mystery box would cost $30.
You're discounting high-value boxes.
This is a clever approach to get rid of excess inventory and makes customers happy.
Be the Buyer Days, flash deals, and mystery boxes helped build my company without paid advertisements.
All companies can use customer event marketing. Involving customers and providing an engaging environment can boost sales.
1 year ago
I Posted Six Times a Day for 210 Days on Twitter. Here's What Happened.
I'd spend hours composing articles only to find out they were useless. Twitter solved the problem.
Twitter is wrinkled, say critics.
Nope. Writing is different. It won't make sense until you write there.
Twitter is resurgent. People are reading again. 15-second TikToks overloaded our senses.
After nuking my 20,000-follower Twitter account and starting again, I wrote every day for 210 days.
I came across the strange world of microblogging.
Traditional web writing is filler-heavy.
On Twitter, you must be brief. I played Wordle.
Twitter Threads are the most popular writing format. Like a blog post. It reminds me of the famous broetry posts on LinkedIn a few years ago.
Threads combine tweets into an article.
Sharp, concise sentences
No regard for grammar
As important as the information is how the text looks.
Twitter Threads are like Michael Angelo's David monument. He chipped away at an enormous piece of marble until a man with a big willy appeared.
That's Twitter Threads.
I tried to remove unnecessary layers from several of my Wordpress blog posts. Then I realized something.
Tweeting from scratch is easier and more entertaining. It's quicker and makes you think more concisely.
Superpower: saying much with little words. My long-form writing has improved. My article sentences resemble tweets.
You never know what will happen.
Twitter's subcultures are odd. Best-performing tweets are strange.
Unusual trend: working alone and without telling anyone. It's a rebellion against Instagram influencers who share their every moment.
Early on, random thoughts worked:
My friend’s wife is Ukrainian. Her family are trapped in the warzone. He is devastated. And here I was complaining about my broken garage door. War puts everything in perspective. Today is a day to be grateful for peace.
Documenting what's happening triggers writing. It's not about viral tweets. Helping others matters.
There are numerous anonymous users.
Twitter uses pseudonyms.
You don't matter. On sites like LinkedIn, you must use your real name. Welcome to the Cyberpunk metaverse of Twitter :)
One daily piece of writing is a powerful habit.
Habits build creator careers. Read that again.
Twitter is an easy habit to pick up. If you can't tweet in one sentence, something's wrong. Easy-peasy-japanese.
Not what I tweeted, but my constancy, made the difference.
Daily writing is challenging, especially if your supervisor is on your back. Twitter encourages writing.
Tweets evolved as the foundation of all other material.
During my experiment, I enjoyed Twitter's speed.
Tweets get immediate responses, comments, and feedback. My popular tweets become newspaper headlines. I've also written essays from tweet discussions.
Sometimes the tweet and article were clear. Twitter sometimes helped me overcome writer's block.
I used to spend hours composing big things that had little real-world use.
Twitter helped me. No guessing. Data guides my coverage and validates concepts.
Test ideas on Twitter.
It took some time for my email list to grow.
Subscribers are a writer's lifeblood.
Without them, you're broke and homeless when Mark Zuckerberg tweaks the algorithms for ad dollars. Twitter has three ways to obtain email subscribers:
1. Add a link to your bio.
Twitter allows bio links (LinkedIn now does too). My eBook's landing page is linked. I collect emails there.
2. Start an online newsletter.
Twitter bought newsletter app Revue. They promote what they own.
I just established up a Revue email newsletter. I imported them weekly into my ConvertKit email list.
3. Create Twitter threads and include a link to your email list in the final tweet.
Write Twitter Threads and link the last tweet to your email list (example below).
Initial email subscribers were modest.
Numbers are growing. Twitter provides 25% of my new email subscribers. Some days, 50 people join.
Without them, my writing career is over. I'd be back at a 9-5 job begging for time off to spend with my newborn daughter. Nope.
Collect email addresses or die trying.
As insurance against unsubscribes and Zucks, use a second email list or Discord community.
What I still need to do
Twitter's fun. I'm wiser. I need to enable auto-replies and auto-DMs (direct messages).
This adds another way to attract subscribers. I schedule tweets with Tweet Hunter.
It’s best to go slow. People assume you're an internet marketer if you spam them with click requests.
A human internet marketer is preferable to a robot. My opinion.
210 days on Twitter taught me that. I plan to use the platform until I'm a grandfather unless Elon ruins it.
11 months ago
7 LinkedIn Tips That Will Help in Audience Growth
In 8 months, I doubled my audience with them.
LinkedIn's buzz isn't over.
People dream of social proof every day. They want clients, interesting jobs, and field recognition.
LinkedIn coaches will benefit greatly. Sell learning? Probably. Can you use it?
Consistency has been key in my eight-month study of LinkedIn. However, I'll share seven of my tips. 700 to 4500 people followed me.
1. Communication, communication, communication
LinkedIn is a social network. I like to think of it as a cafe. Here, you can share your thoughts, meet friends, and discuss life and work.
Do not treat LinkedIn as if it were a board for your post-its.
More socializing improves relationships. It's about people, like any network.
Consider interactions. Three main areas:
Respond to criticism left on your posts.
Comment on other people's posts
Start and maintain conversations through direct messages.
Engage people. You spend too much time on Facebook if you only read your wall. Keeping in touch and having meaningful conversations helps build your network.
Every day, start a new conversation to make new friends.
2. Stick with those you admire
Choose your contacts. Build your tribe is a term. Respectful networking.
I only had past colleagues, family, and friends in my network at the start of this year. Not business-friendly. Since then, I've sought out people I admire or can learn from.
Finding a few will help you. As they connect you to their networks. Friendships can lead to clients.
Don't underestimate network power. Cafe-style. Meet people at each table. But avoid people who sell SEO, web redesign, VAs, mysterious job opportunities, etc.
3. Share eye-catching infographics
Daily infographics flood LinkedIn. Visuals are popular. Use Canva's free templates if you can't draw them.
It's a fun way to visualize your topic.
You can repost and comment on infographics. Involve your network. I prefer making my own because I build my brand around certain designs.
My friend posted infographics consistently for four months and grew his network to 30,000.
If you start, credit the authors. As you steal someone's work.
4. Invite some friends over.
LinkedIn alone can be lonely. Having a few friends who support your work daily will boost your growth.
I was lucky to be invited to a group of networkers. We share knowledge and advice.
Having a few regulars who can discuss your posts is helpful. It's artificial, but it works and engages others.
Consider who you'd support if they were in your shoes.
You can pay for an engagement group, but you risk supporting unrelated people with rubbish posts.
Help each other out.
5. Don't let your feed or algorithm divert you.
LinkedIn's algorithm is magical.
Which time is best? How fast do you need to comment? Which days are best?
Overemphasize algorithms. Consider the user. No need to worry about the best time.
Remember to spend time on LinkedIn actively. Not passively. That is what Facebook is for.
Surely someone would find a LinkedIn recipe. Don't beat the algorithm yet. Consider your audience.
6. The more personal, the better
Personalization isn't limited to selfies. Share your successes and failures.
The more personality you show, the better.
People relate to others, not theories or quotes. Why should they follow you? Everyone posts the same content?
Consider your friends. What's their appeal?
Because they show their work and identity. It's simple. Medium and Linkedin are your platforms. Find out what works.
You can copy others' hooks and structures. You decide how simple to make it, though.
7. Have fun with those who have various post structures.
I like writing, infographics, videos, and carousels. Because you can:
Repurpose your content!
Out of one blog post I make:
Infographics (positive and negative points of view)
Create less but more variety. Since LinkedIn posts last 24 hours, you can rotate the same topics for weeks without anyone noticing.
The final LI snippet to think about
LinkedIn is about consistency. Some say 15 minutes. If you're serious about networking, spend more time there.
The good news is that it is worth it. The bad news is that it takes time.
You might also like
1 year ago
Terms of Service
Effective: August 31, 2022
These Terms of Service ("Terms") govern your access to and use of INTΞGRITY’s (or "we") websites, mobile applications, and other online products and services (collectively, the "Services"). By clicking your assent (e.g. "Continue," "Sign-in," or "Sign-up") or by utilizing our Services, you consent to these Terms, including the mandatory arbitration provision and class action waiver in the Resolving Disputes; Binding Arbitration Section.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries regarding these Terms or our Services.
Account Details and Responsibilities
You are responsible for your use of the Services and any content you contribute, including compliance with all relevant laws. The Services may host content that is protected by the intellectual property rights of third parties. Please do not copy, post, download, or distribute content without permission.
You must adhere to our Rules when using the Services.
To use any or all of our services, you may need to register for an account. Contribute to the protection of your account. Protect your account's password, and maintain accurate account details. We advise you not to share your password with anyone else.
If you are accepting these Terms and using the Services on behalf of someone else (such as another person or entity), you confirm that you are allowed to do so, and the words "you" or "your" in these Terms refer to that other person or entity.
You must be at least 13 years old to access our services.
If you use the Services to access, collect, or otherwise utilize the personal information of other INTΞGRITY users ("Personal Information"), you agree to comply with all applicable laws. You also undertake not to sell any Personal Information, where "sell" has the meaning ascribed to it by relevant legislation.
For Personal Information you provide to us (as a Newsletter Editor, for example), you represent and warrant that you have lawfully collected the Personal Information and that you or a third party have provided all required notices and obtained all required consents prior to collecting the Personal Information. You further represent and warrant that INTΞGRITY’s use of such Personal Information in accordance with the purposes for which you provided the Personal Information will not violate, misappropriate, or infringe any rights of a third party (including intellectual property rights or privacy rights) or cause us to violate any applicable laws.
The Services' User Content
INTΞGRITY may monitor your conduct and material for compliance with these Terms and our Rules, and reserves the right to remove any content that violates these guidelines.
INTΞGRITY maintains the right to remove or disable content that is accused to violate the intellectual property rights of others, as well as to cancel the accounts of repeat infringers. We respond to notifications of alleged copyright violations if they comply with the law; please report such notices using our Copyright Policy.
Ownership and Rights
You maintain ownership of all content that you submit, upload, or display on or through the Services.
By submitting, posting, or displaying content on or through the Services, unless otherwise agreed in writing, you grant INTΞGRITY a nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully paid, and sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your content in all media formats and distribution methods now known or later developed.
INTΞGRITY requires this license because you are the owner of your material, and INTΞGRITY cannot show it across its multiple platforms (mobile, online) without your consent.
This type of license is also required for content distribution throughout our Services. For example, you may publish a piece on INTΞGRITY. It is duplicated as versions on both our website and app, and distributed to many locations on INTΞGRITY, including the homepage and reading lists. A tweak could be that we display a fragment of your work as a preview (rather than the entire post), with attribution. An example of a derivative work might be a list of top authors or quotations on INTΞGRITY that includes chunks of your article, again with full attribution. This license solely applies to our Services and does not grant us permissions outside of our Services.
So long as you comply with these Terms, INTΞGRITY grants you a limited, non-exclusive, personal, and non-transferable license to access and utilize our Services.
Copyright, trademark, and other United States and international laws protect the Services. These Terms do not grant you any right, title, or interest in the Services, the material posted by other users on the Services, or INTΞGRITY’s trademarks, logos, or other brand characteristics.
In addition to the content you submit, post, or display on our Services, we appreciate your feedback, which may include your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions regarding our Services. This input may be used for any reason at our sole discretion and without obligation to you. We may treat your comments as non-confidential.
We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to discontinue the Services or any of its features. In addition, we reserve the right to impose limits on use and storage, and to remove or restrict the distribution of content on the Services.
You are allowed to terminate your use of our services at any time. We have the right to stop or cancel your use of the Services with or without notice.
Moving and Processing Information
To enable us to deliver our Services, you accept that we may handle, transfer, and retain information about you in the United States and other countries, where you may not enjoy the same rights and protections as you do under local law.
To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, you will indemnify, defend, and hold harmless INTΞGRITY, and our officers, directors, agents, partners, and employees (collectively, the "INTΞGRITY Parties"), from and against any losses, liabilities, claims, demands, damages, expenses or costs ("Claims") arising out of or relating to your violation, misappropriation, or infringement of any rights of another (including intellectual property rights or privacy rights). You undertake to promptly notify INTΞGRITY Parties of any third-party Claims, to assist INTΞGRITY Parties in fighting such Claims, and to pay any fees, charges, and expenses connected with defending such Claims (including attorneys' fees). You further agree that, at INTΞGRITY’s sole discretion, the INTΞGRITY Parties will govern the defense or settlement of any third-party Claims.
Disclaimers — Services Provided "As Is"
INTΞGRITY strives to provide you with excellent Services, but there are certain things we cannot guarantee. Utilization of our services is at your own risk. You acknowledge that our Services and any content uploaded or shared by users on the Services are given "as is" and "as available" without explicit or implied warranties of any kind, including warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, and non-infringement. In addition, INTΞGRITY does not represent or promise that our Services are accurate, comprehensive, dependable, up-to-date, or error-free. No advice or information gained from INTΞGRITY or via the Services shall create any warranty or representation unless expressly set forth in this section. INTΞGRITY may provide information on third-party products, services, activities, or events, or we may permit third parties to make their material and information accessible via our Services (collectively, "Third-Party Content"). We neither control nor endorse any Third-Party Content, nor do we make any claims or warranties about it. Accessing and utilizing Third-Party Content is at your own risk. The disclaimers in this section may not apply to you if they are prohibited in your location.
Limitation of Liability
We do not exclude or limit our obligation to you where it would be unlawful to do so; this includes any liability for the gross negligence, fraud, or willful misconduct of INTΞGRITY or the other INTΞGRITY Parties in providing the Services. In jurisdictions where the foregoing exclusions are not permitted, our liability to you is limited to losses and damages that are reasonably foreseeable as a result of our failure to exercise reasonable care and skill or breach of contract with you. This paragraph does not impact consumer rights that cannot be waived or limited by contract.
In jurisdictions that permit liability exclusions or limits, INTΞGRITY and INTΞGRITY Parties will not be liable for:
(a) Any indirect, consequential, exemplary, incidental, punitive, or extraordinary damages, or any loss of use, data, or profits, based on any legal theory, even if INTΞGRITY or the other INTΞGRITY Parties were advised of the potential of such damages.
(b) Except for the types of liability we cannot limit by law (as described in this section), we limit the total liability of INTΞGRITY and the other INTΞGRITY Parties for any claim arising out of or related to these Terms or our Services, regardless of the form of action, to $100.00 USD.
Arbitration; Resolution of Disputes
We intend to address your concerns without filing a formal lawsuit. Before making a claim against INTΞGRITY, you agree to contact us and attempt to resolve the dispute informally by emailing email@example.com or by sending certified mail to INTΞGRITY, P.O. JOY, 479 Jessie St, San Francisco, CA 94103. The notice must (a) contain your name, address, email address, and telephone number; (b) identify the nature and grounds of the claim; and (c) detail the relief requested. Our notice to you will be sent to the email address linked with your online account and will contain the information specified in the preceding section. Any party may commence a formal procedure if we are unable to reach a resolution within thirty (30) days of the date of any notice.
Please read the following section carefully because it compels you to arbitrate certain claims and disputes with INTΞGRITY and limits the method in which you can seek redress from us, unless you opt out of arbitration by following the steps provided below. This arbitration provision does not permit class or representative lawsuits or arbitrations. In addition, arbitration prohibits you from filing a lawsuit or having a jury trial.
(a) Absence of Representative Actions You and INTΞGRITY agree that any dispute arising out of or relating to these Terms or our Services is personal to you and INTΞGRITY and will be resolved entirely via individual action, and not by class arbitration, class action, or other representative procedure.
(b) Dispute Arbitration. Except for small claims disputes in which you or INTΞGRITY seeks to bring an individual action in small claims court located in the county where you reside and disputes in which you or INTΞGRITY seeks injunctive or other equitable relief for the alleged infringement or misappropriation of intellectual property, you and INTΞGRITY waive your rights to a jury trial and to have any other dispute arising out of or relating to these Terms or our Services, including claims related to privity of contract, decided by a jury. All Disputes submitted to JAMS shall be decided by confidential, binding arbitration before a single arbitrator. If you are a consumer, you may choose to have the arbitration in your county of residence. A "consumer" is a person who uses the Services for personal, family, or household purposes for the purposes of this provision. You and INTΞGRITY agree that Disputes shall be resolved using the JAMS Streamlined Arbitration Rules and Procedures ("JAMS Rules"). The latest version of the JAMS Rules is accessible on the JAMS website and is incorporated herein by reference. Either you accept and agree that you have read and comprehended the JAMS Rules or you forfeit your right to read the JAMS Rules and any claim that the JAMS Rules are unreasonable or should not apply for any reason.
(c) You and INTΞGRITY agree that these Terms affect interstate commerce and that the enforceability of this provision is subject to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 1 et seq. (the "FAA"), to the maximum extent permissible by applicable law. As limited by the FAA, these Terms, and the JAMS Rules, the arbitrator will have sole authority to make all procedural and substantive judgments regarding any Dispute, and to grant any remedy that would otherwise be available in court, including the authority to determine arbitrability. The arbitrator may only conduct an individual arbitration and may not consolidate the claims of more than one party, preside over any sort of class or representative procedure, or preside over any proceeding involving more than one party.
d) The arbitration will permit the discovery or exchange of nonconfidential information pertinent to the Dispute. The arbitrator, INTΞGRITY, and you will maintain the confidentiality of all arbitration proceedings, judgments, and awards, as well as any information gathered, prepared, or presented for the purposes of the arbitration or relating to the Dispute(s) therein. Unless the law specifies otherwise, the arbitrator will have the right to make decisions that protect confidentiality. The duty of confidentiality does not apply where disclosure is required to prepare for or conduct the arbitration hearing on the merits, in connection with a court application for a preliminary remedy, in connection with a judicial challenge to an arbitration award or its enforcement, or where disclosure is otherwise required by law or judicial decision.
e) You and INTΞGRITY agree that for any arbitration you begin, you will pay the filing fee (up to $250 if you are a consumer) and INTΞGRITY will pay the remaining JAMS fees and costs. INTΞGRITY will pay all JAMS fees and costs for any and all arbitrations it initiates. You and INTΞGRITY agree that the state and federal courts of California and the United States located in San Francisco have exclusive jurisdiction over any appeals and the implementation of an arbitration award.
(f) Any Dispute must be filed within one year after the relevant claim arose; otherwise, the Dispute is permanently barred, meaning that neither you nor INTΞGRITY will be able to assert the claim.
(g) You have the right to opt-out of binding arbitration within 30 days of the date you initially accepted the terms of this section by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For the opt-out notification to be effective, it must include your full name and address and clearly explain your intent to opt out of binding arbitration. By declining binding arbitration, you consent to the resolution of Disputes in accordance with "Governing Law and Venue" below.
(h) If any portion of this section is found to be unenforceable or unlawful for any reason: (1) the unenforceable or unlawful provision shall be severed from these Terms; (2) the severance of the unenforceable or unlawful provision shall have no effect whatsoever on the remainder of this section or the parties' ability to compel arbitration of any remaining claims on an individual basis pursuant to this section; and (3) to the extent that any claims must therefore proceed on an individual basis, the parties agree to arbitrate those claims on an individual basis. In addition, if it is determined that any portion of this section prohibits an individual claim seeking public injunctive relief, that provision will be null and void to the extent that such relief may be sought outside of arbitration, and the balance of this section will be enforceable.
Statute and Location
These Terms and any dispute that may arise between you and INTΞGRITY are governed by California law, excluding its conflict of law provisions. Any issue between the parties that is not arbitrable or cannot be heard in small claims court will be determined by the state or federal courts of California and the United States, sitting in San Francisco, California.
Some nations have regulations that require agreements to be controlled by the consumer's country's laws. These statutes are not overridden by this paragraph.
Periodically, we may make modifications to these Terms. If we make modifications, we will notify you by sending an email to the address connected with your account, providing an in-product message, or amending the date at the top of these Terms. Unless we specify otherwise in our notification, the modified Terms will take effect immediately, and your continued use of our Services after we issue such notice indicates your acceptance of the changes. If you do not accept the updated Terms, you must cease using our services.
If any section or portion of a provision of these Terms is determined to be unlawful, void, or unenforceable, that provision or part of the provision shall be deemed severable from these Terms and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of the other terms.
Miscellaneous INTΞGRITY’s omission to assert or enforce any right or term of these Terms is not a waiver of such right or provision. These Terms and the terms and policies specified in the Other Terms and Policies that May Apply to You Section constitute the complete agreement between the parties pertaining to the subject matter hereof and supersede all prior agreements, statements, and understandings between the parties. The section headings in these Terms are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual significance. The use of the word "including" shall be taken to mean "including without limitation." Unless otherwise specified, these Terms are intended solely for the benefit of the parties and are not intended to confer third-party beneficiary rights on any other person or entity. You consent to the use of electronic means for our communications and transactions.
11 months ago
Explaining Twitter Files
Elon Musk, Matt Taibbi, the 'Twitter Files,' and Hunter Biden's laptop: what gives?
Explaining Twitter Files
Matt Taibbi released "The Twitter Files," a batch of emails sent by Twitter executives discussing the company's decision to stop an October 2020 New York Post story online.
What's on Twitter? New York Post and Fox News call them "bombshell" documents. Or, as a Post columnist admitted, are they "not the smoking gun"? Onward!
What started this?
The New York Post published an exclusive, potentially explosive story in October 2020: Biden's Secret Emails: Ukrainian executive thanks Hunter Biden for'meeting' veep dad. The story purported to report the contents of a laptop brought to the tabloid by a Delaware computer repair shop owner who said it belonged to President Biden's second son, Hunter Biden. Emails and files on the laptop allegedly showed how Hunter peddled influence with Ukranian businessmen and included a "raunchy 12-minute video" of Hunter smoking crack and having sex.
Twitter banned links to the Post story after it was published, calling it "hacked material." The Post's Twitter account was suspended for multiple days.
Why? Yoel Roth, Twitter's former head of trust and safety, said the company couldn't verify the story, implying they didn't trust the Post.
Twitter's stated purpose rarely includes verifying news stories. This seemed like intentional political interference. This story was hard to verify because the people who claimed to have found the laptop wouldn't give it to other newspapers. (Much of the story, including Hunter's business dealings in Ukraine and China, was later confirmed.)
Roth: "It looked like a hack and leak."
So what are the “Twitter Files?”
Twitter's decision to bury the story became a political scandal, and new CEO Elon Musk promised an explanation. The Twitter Files, named after Facebook leaks.
Musk promised exclusive details of "what really happened" with Hunter Biden late Friday afternoon. The tweet was punctuated with a popcorn emoji.
Explaining Twitter Files
Three hours later, journalist Matt Taibbi tweeted more than three dozen tweets based on internal Twitter documents that revealed "a Frankensteinian tale of a human-built mechanism grown out of its designer's control."
Musk sees this release as a way to shape Twitter's public perception and internal culture in his image. We don't know if the CEO gave Taibbi the documents. Musk hyped the document dump before and during publication, but Taibbi cited "internal sources."
Taibbi shares email screenshots showing Twitter execs discussing the Post story and blocking its distribution. Taibbi says the emails show Twitter's "extraordinary steps" to bury the story.
Twitter communications chief Brandon Borrman has the most damning quote in the Files. Can we say this is policy? The story seemed unbelievable. It seemed like a hack... or not? Could Twitter, which ex-CEO Dick Costolo called "the free speech wing of the free speech party," censor a news story?
Many on the right say the Twitter Files prove the company acted at the behest of Democrats. Both parties had these tools, writes Taibbi. In 2020, both the Trump White House and Biden campaign made requests. He says the system for reporting tweets for deletion is unbalanced because Twitter employees' political donations favor Democrats. Perhaps. These donations may have helped Democrats connect with Twitter staff, but it's also possible they didn't. No emails in Taibbi's cache show these alleged illicit relations or any actions Twitter employees took as a result.
Even Musk's supporters were surprised by the drop. Miranda Devine of the New York Post told Tucker Carlson the documents weren't "the smoking gun we'd hoped for." Sebastian Gorka said on Truth Social, "So far, I'm deeply underwhelmed." DC Democrats collude with Palo Alto Democrats. Whoop!” The Washington Free Beacon's Joe Simonson said the Twitter files are "underwhelming." Twitter was staffed by Democrats who did their bidding. (Why?)
If "The Twitter Files" matter, why?
These emails led Twitter to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story has real news value. It's rare for a large and valuable company like Twitter to address wrongdoing so thoroughly. Emails resemble FOIA documents. They describe internal drama at a company with government-level power. Katie Notopoulos tweeted, "Any news outlet would've loved this scoop!" It's not a'scandal' as teased."
Twitter's new owner calls it "the de facto public town square," implying public accountability. Like a government agency. Though it's exciting to receive once-hidden documents in response to a FOIA, they may be boring and tell you nothing new. Like Twitter files. We learned how Twitter blocked the Post's story, but not why. Before these documents were released, we knew Twitter had suppressed the story and who was involved.
These people were disciplined and left Twitter. Musk fired Vijaya Gadde, the former CLO who reportedly played a "key role" in the decision. Roth quit over Musk's "dictatorship." Musk arrived after Borrman left. Jack Dorsey, then-CEO, has left. Did those who digitally quarantined the Post's story favor Joe Biden and the Democrats? Republican Party opposition and Trump hatred? New York Post distaste? According to our documents, no. Was there political and press interference? True. We knew.
Taibbi interviewed anonymous ex-Twitter employees about the decision; all expressed shock and outrage. One source said, "Everyone knew this was fucked." Since Taibbi doesn't quote that expletive, we can assume the leaked emails contained few or no sensational quotes. These executives said little to support nefarious claims.
Outlets more invested in the Hunter Biden story than Gizmodo seem vexed by the release and muted headlines. The New York Post, which has never shied away from a blaring headline in its 221-year history, owns the story of Hunter Biden's laptop. Two Friday-night Post alerts about Musk's actions were restrained. Elon Musk will drop Twitter files on NY Post-Hunter Biden laptop censorship today. Elon Musk's Twitter dropped Post censorship details from Biden's laptop. Fox News' Apple News push alert read, "Elon Musk drops Twitter censorship documents."
Bombshell, bombshell, bombshell… what, exactly, is the bombshell? Maybe we've heard this story too much and are missing the big picture. Maybe these documents detail a well-documented decision.
The Post explains why on its website. "Hunter Biden laptop bombshell: Twitter invented reason to censor Post's reporting," its headline says.
Twitter's ad hoc decision to moderate a tabloid's content is not surprising. The social network had done this for years as it battled toxic users—violent white nationalists, virulent transphobes, harassers and bullies of all political stripes, etc. No matter how much Musk crows, the company never had content moderation under control. Buzzfeed's 2016 investigation showed how Twitter has struggled with abusive posters since 2006. Jack Dorsey and his executives improvised, like Musk.
Did the US government interfere with the ex-social VP's media company? That's shocking, a bombshell. Musk said Friday, "Twitter suppressing free speech by itself is not a 1st amendment violation, but acting under government orders with no judicial review is." Indeed! Taibbi believed this. August 2022: "The laptop is secondary." Zeynep Tufecki, a Columbia professor and New York Times columnist, says the FBI is cutting true story distribution. Taibbi retracted the claim Friday night: "I've seen no evidence of government involvement in the laptop story."
What’s the bottom line?
I'm still not sure what's at stake in the Hunter Biden scandal after dozens of New York Post articles, hundreds of hours of Fox News airtime, and thousands of tweets. Briefly: Joe Biden's son left his laptop with a questionable repairman. FBI confiscated it? The repairman made a copy and gave it to Rudy Giuliani's lawyer. The Post got it from Steve Bannon. On that laptop were videos of Hunter Biden smoking crack, cavorting with prostitutes, and emails about introducing his father to a Ukrainian businessman for $50,000 a month. Joe Biden urged Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating the company. What? The story seems to be about Biden family business dealings, right?
The discussion has moved past that point anyway. Now, the story is the censorship of it. Adrienne Rich wrote in "Diving Into the Wreck" that she came for "the wreck and not the story of the wreck" No matter how far we go, Hunter Biden's laptop is done. Now, the crash's story matters.
I'm dizzy. Katherine Miller of BuzzFeed wrote, "I know who I believe, and you probably do, too. To believe one is to disbelieve the other, which implicates us in the decision; we're stuck." I'm stuck. Hunter Biden's laptop is a political fabrication. You choose. I've decided.
This could change. Twitter Files drama continues. Taibbi said, "Much more to come." I'm dizzy.
1 year ago
Crypto Legislation Might Progress Beyond Talk in 2022
Financial regulators have for years attempted to apply existing laws to the multitude of issues created by digital assets. In 2021, leading federal regulators and members of Congress have begun to call for legislation to address these issues. As a result, 2022 may be the year when federal legislation finally addresses digital asset issues that have been growing since the mining of the first Bitcoin block in 2009.
Digital Asset Regulation in the Absence of Legislation
So far, Congress has left the task of addressing issues created by digital assets to regulatory agencies. Although a Congressional Blockchain Caucus formed in 2016, House and Senate members introduced few bills addressing digital assets until 2018. As of October 2021, Congress has not amended federal laws on financial regulation, which were last significantly revised by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, to address digital asset issues.
In the absence of legislation, issues that do not fit well into existing statutes have created problems. An example is the legal status of digital assets, which can be considered to be either securities or commodities, and can even shift from one to the other over time. Years after the SEC’s 2017 report applying the definition of a security to digital tokens, the SEC and the CFTC have yet to clarify the distinction between securities and commodities for the thousands of digital assets in existence.
SEC Chair Gary Gensler has called for Congress to act, stating in August, “We need additional Congressional authorities to prevent transactions, products, and platforms from falling between regulatory cracks.” Gensler has reached out to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.), who has expressed her own concerns about the need for legislation.
Legislation on Digital Assets in 2021
While regulators and members of Congress talked about the need for legislation, and the debate over cryptocurrency tax reporting in the 2021 infrastructure bill generated headlines, House and Senate bills proposing specific solutions to various issues quietly started to emerge.
Digital Token Sales
Several House bills attempt to address securities law barriers to digital token sales—some of them by building on ideas proposed by regulators in past years.
Exclusion from the definition of a security. Congressional Blockchain Caucus members have been introducing bills to exclude digital tokens from the definition of a security since 2018, and they have revived those bills in 2021. They include the Token Taxonomy Act of 2021 (H.R. 1628), successor to identically named bills in 2018 and 2019, and the Securities Clarity Act (H.R. 4451), successor to a 2020 namesake.
Safe harbor. SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce proposed a regulatory safe harbor for token sales in 2020, and two 2021 bills have proposed statutory safe harbors. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Republican leader of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced a Clarity for Digital Tokens Act of 2021 (H.R. 5496) that would amend the Securities Act to create a safe harbor providing a grace period of exemption from Securities Act registration requirements. The Digital Asset Market Structure and Investor Protection Act (H.R. 4741) from Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) would amend the Securities Exchange Act to define a new type of security—a “digital asset security”—and add issuers of digital asset securities to an existing provision for delayed registration of securities.
Stablecoins—digital currencies linked to the value of the U.S. dollar or other fiat currencies—have not yet been the subject of regulatory action, although Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell have each underscored the need to create a regulatory framework for them. The Beyer bill proposes to create a regulatory regime for stablecoins by amending Title 31 of the U.S. Code. Treasury Department approval would be required for any “digital asset fiat-based stablecoin” to be issued or used, under an application process to be established by Treasury in consultation with the Federal Reserve, the SEC, and the CFTC.
Serious consideration for any of these proposals in the current session of Congress may be unlikely. A spate of autumn bills on crypto ransom payments (S. 2666, S. 2923, S. 2926, H.R. 5501) shows that Congress is more inclined to pay attention first to issues that are more spectacular and less arcane. Moreover, the arcaneness of digital asset regulatory issues is likely only to increase further, now that major industry players such as Coinbase and Andreessen Horowitz are starting to roll out their own regulatory proposals.
Digital Dollar vs. Digital Yuan
Impetus to pass legislation on another type of digital asset, a central bank digital currency (CBDC), may come from a different source: rivalry with China.
China established itself as a world leader in developing a CBDC with a pilot project launched in 2020, and in 2021, the People’s Bank of China announced that its CBDC will be used at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022. Republican Senators responded by calling for the U.S. Olympic Committee to forbid use of China’s CBDC by U.S. athletes in Beijing and introducing a bill (S. 2543) to require a study of its national security implications.
The Beijing Olympics could motivate a legislative mandate to accelerate implementation of a U.S. digital dollar, which the Federal Reserve has been in the process of considering in 2021. Antecedents to such legislation already exist. A House bill sponsored by 46 Republicans (H.R. 4792) has a provision that would require the Treasury Department to assess China’s CBDC project and report on the status of Federal Reserve work on a CBDC, and the Beyer bill includes a provision amending the Federal Reserve Act to authorize issuing a digital dollar.
Both parties are likely to support creating a digital dollar. The Covid-19 pandemic made a digital dollar for delivery of relief payments a popular idea in 2020, and House Democrats introduced bills with provisions for creating one in 2020 and 2021. Bipartisan support for a bill on a digital dollar, based on concerns both foreign and domestic in nature, could result.
International rivalry and bipartisan support may make the digital dollar a gateway issue for digital asset legislation in 2022. Legislative work on a digital dollar may open the door for considering further digital asset issues—including the regulatory issues that have been emerging for years—in 2022 and beyond.