Guy Kawasaki, a former Apple executive famous for popularizing the practice of "evangelism" in tech marketing, loves Twitter, like every good self-promoting hack. But how can you tell when a hack gets hacked?
Twitter, a service which lets users post brief, 140-character messages for friends and perfect strangers alike, has already evolved its own telegraphic grammar of @ signs ("tweets," or messages, directed "at" a specific user, yet posted publicly) and # signs (denoting a topic for the message). Add to that services like TinyURL and Bit.ly which condense Web addresses into short, unreadable masses of characters. It's also spawned a cottage industry of applications which people use to post messages, with oddball names like Twhirl and TweetDeck and Ping.fm. The result are messages like these:
It's the very definition of too insidery. How are tech newcomers supposed to decode all these inscrutable traditions.
So when a tipster asked me if Kawasaki's Twitter account had been hacked, after it started displaying some incomprehensible messages about fried chicken, I stared at it for a while. Eventually I gave up and just called Kawasaki to ask.
Yes, he told me, when I reached him at an airport, his account had been hacked, but it was probably his fault. "I was using a new service called Adjix, and I did something too fast," he told me. "I can't explain it." Sort of like Twitter.
Kawasaki then suggested I speculate that he faked the hacking to get more attention. He added that he loved the hacker's tweets about fried chicken, and would gladly add it as a topic to his website Alltop.com. See? Everything on Twitter ends up being about self-promotion.
Update: Adjix president Joe Moreno, in an email, said that Kawasaki mistakenly broadcast his login credentials over the service, allowing a hacker to take control of his account.
Kawasaki's hacked Twitter page: