WebMediaBrands chairman and chief executive officer Alan Meckler was so frustrated with Twitter’s slowness in dealing with his complaints over ‘Sqwitters’ (Twitter username squatters) parked on some of his brands that he publicly aired his grievances – on Twitter.
WebMediaBrands is a US media behemoth that is probably best known in the UK for its ownership of MediaBistro, an online community for mostly US-based media professionals. Meckler did not mention which of his brands are being squatted on, but @learnnetwork and @semanticweb are both WebMediaBrands and currently inactive with only a handful of followers.
Twitter expressly forbids username squatting in its terms and conditions so it seems likely that Meckler will get his way, but the subsequent minor spat that broke out following his Tweet (see screengrab below) rather neatly encapsulates the clash of cultures on the web described by Dr Aleks Krotoski in the first two episodes of the BBC documentary The Virtual Revolution:
The founding father of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, believed his invention would remain an open frontier that nobody could own, and that it would take power from the few and give it to the many. Now, in a provocative, strongly authored argument, presenter Aleks Krotoski will re-assess utopian claims like these, made over many years by the digital revolution’s key innovators – and test them against the hard realities of the emerging web today, exploring how the possibilities of the pure technology have been constrained, even distorted by the limitations of human nature.
PS interesting skunk fact: skunks can spray up to 4-7m in a favorable wind, although they are usually only accurate for up to about 2m.