Franz looked around the room at the collection of assassins, hackers, miscreants and villains. Whoever assembled this crew obviously had some questionable contacts. Several were well known in their respective circles; legends of chaos and terror. Others were obvious henchmen who were impressed with themselves for their mere inclusion in this assembly.
He walked to the stage and thought for a moment longer about how to address this group. Franz was accustomed to board rooms and conference halls. The fact that this meeting was being held in a night club called “The Cave” spoke more than he needed to know about this assignment. After all, a full bar was most likely a requirement to attract this particular group of individuals.
“Gentlemen,” Franz began, “… And, ladies,” Franz spotted a few females in the crowd and wondered how he had failed to notice them before. “You have all been summoned here to be part an elite secret society to be known as ‘The Twitterati’. You…”
“Why would we want to join your club?” Franz speech was interrupted by a thug sitting near the stage. He was a no-name, obviously trying to impress the group and establish himself as a leader.
Franz looked at him for a moment before responding. “You will work for the group for the same reason you do most things, I presume: It’s a paying gig. I am not here to discuss payment or contract terms, if you are selected for this assignment you will be contacted by our contracting team.”
“The Twitterati is being created to clean up the Twitter user base. As many of you know, Twitter’s exponential growth has attracted a wide range of users. Some of whom do not fully appreciate how Twitter should work. With the impending demise of MySpace we expect this problem to worsen.”
“So who’s going to pay us to clean up Twitter? Why would anyone care?” This question came from Thurmond Asgate, an art thief known for his work with Renaissance paintings.
Franz appreciated this question as he sensed that Thurmond was trying to gauge the legitimacy of this assembly. “I am not at liberty to disclose the identity of our benefactor, but I will say that she has a great interest in the future of global communications.” He glanced at Thurmond to see if this answer satisfied his suspicions. Not getting a response he decided to continue with his agenda.
“The method of dealing with these undesirables will be determined later and will, as you can tell by the group gathered here, include various methods of torture, technology and old-fashioned intimidation. For this meeting I would like to…”
“How come I never heard of this here organization before?” Another wanna-be henchman walked toward the stage as he interrupted Franz.
“You moron! He said it was a secret organization!” A blonde headed man in a black trench coat stood as he shouted at the one asking the question.
Franz ignored the outburst motioning with his hands for them to be seated. He continued his presentation. “For this meeting we want to discuss who the targets of our organization will be. As I mentioned before, some users lack the proper appreciation for Twitter. I think it’s safe to begin our list with those who ignore the 140 character limit by posting successive tweets as a continuation of a single thought.”
“Oh yeah, that deserves a horrible punishment!” Johnny Ciamboni called out. Johnny was a lead boss in one New Jersey’s biggest crime families. “No respect, I tell ya. Those punks have no respect for the system! I say we pour ‘em some cement boots and let ‘em take a walk along the pier.” Johnny looked around the room with a big smile on his face. Others offered cheers in agreement to Johnny’s speech. It was clear that Johnny liked hearing the cheers as he pulled out his phone to compose a tweet.
“Ok,” Franz continued, “I think everyone is getting a sense of where we’re going with this. Let me hear from you. What other problems should we address?”
Franz looked in the direction of the voice. This time it was one of the ladies chiming in.
“You know what I mean. You follow somebody and all of a sudden you get a Direct Message saying “Hi! Thanks for the follow! Blah blah blah! I use their profile pics for target practice.” Franz didn’t recognize the lady speaking but the rest of the audience did. Known to most simply as Raven she was a renowned assassin and demolition expert. It was rumored that she was involved in several high profile political assassinations, but only she knew for sure. Everyone avoided eye contact with her.
“That’s good.” Franz nodded as he spoke. His assistant Charles was writing the phrase “Auto DM” on the whiteboard that stood next to Franz on the stage.
“What about people who only tweet links?” A diminutive man with a bald head stood to his feet near the stage. “I mean, really, if all you have to say is ‘Look at my blog!’ then you shouldn’t be allowed to tweet.”
“Agreed!” Another man chimed in from the back. Several others began to chime in as well.
Franz was fairly certain the small bald guy was just a henchman, but was impressed by his Twitter acumen. “Exactly,” Franz said, watching Charles scribble ‘Only Links’ onto the whiteboard.
“What about people with cartoon avatars? Do they not have cameras where those people live? Are they really just vampires and therefore can’t take a picture?” The speaker was standing near the back of the room.
“There is nothing wrong with cartoon avatars, Frankie!” The room fell quiet as soon as Allen Crooms spoke. Allen was a computer hacker best known for his “I hate you” virus which infected computers in almost every country around the world before being discovered. “A cartoon avatar just shows a certain playfulness. What we really need to address are people who only tweet complaints and despair. I mean, come on, can it really be that bad all the time?”
“And don’t forget their counterparts.” Johnny Ciamboni chimed in again. “There’s some people who don’t tweet nothin’ but happy thoughts all day. That’s some messed up people right there. Makes me take another Prozac. Nobody’s that happy all the time. And if they are, that can be fixed.”
Franz was feeling good at the level of conversation. Initially he had been unsure about this assignment, even though the money was too much to pass up. Now he felt confident that he would be able to form these shady characters into a team. This was actually more fun than presenting the annual HR refresher trainings. At least half the group was busy typing out messages on their smart phones or netbooks.
The room was quiet for a moment until a thin man with thick glasses spoke up from near the door. “Well, I think there are still several things we haven’t discussed: people who hashtag everything, people who retweet everything they see, sales pitches, the list goes on.”
The man went by the monicker Anarchy and was known as a small-bomb expert. No one was really sure of his nationality and his accent gave little indication. A small rumble started in the room as people began commenting on each scenario that he mentioned.
Anarchy raised his voice to get their attention. “But the way I see it, the real problem is…”
Franz was impressed that Anarchy was able to get everyone’s attention so easily.
“The real problem is people who try to create rules where there are none- people who try to tell me how to tweet or how often or what’s important enough to post.”
The crowd was listening intently as Anarchy spoke, many shaking their heads in agreement. Charles was writing on the whiteboard again.
“And for that group I think this should help.” Anarchy held up a small canister. “Consider it my contribution to ‘The Twitterati’.” With that he pulled something off the top of the canister and tossed it toward the center of the room.
Franz was caught by surprise as Anarchy abruptly left the room. Sunshine flooded the dimly lit room through the open door, a precursor to the explosion that followed.
Meanwhile, the trending topics on Twitter included #Philippineslovesjustin, #ElanaKissedDamon and #AshtonKutcher but no mention of any secret societies dedicated to preserving Twitter.
Graphic provided by The Twitter Icon Factory.