Hipsters Are Ruining Twitter, Say Hipsters on Twitter

Owen Thomas · 03/13/09 02:22PM

Dear Facebook employee: If you're going to do something obvious and cliché like wearing cowboy boots to SXSW's geek spring break, please have the decency not to tell Twitter about it. Other Twitter idiocies today:

Facebook CEO's sister turns on her Valley friends

Owen Thomas · 11/17/08 01:40PM

Randi Zuckerberg, the limelight-seeking sister of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has learned a key lesson of media success: As you scale the ladder, make sure to jab your stiletto heels into the faces of those you climb over. Zuckerberg, whose day job is in Facebook's marketing department, has been writing weekly for former magazine editor Tina Brown's mostly ignored Daily Beast website since it launched — but only recently has she turned mean. We love it, of course. The target of her freshly poisoned pen: the hipster lip dub, those single-shot singalongs so popular with startups and would-be Internet celebrities. What Zuckerberg does write: "In case there was any doubt that the chief purpose of the Internet is to perpetuate narcissism, lip dub videos put that to rest." What she does not write:She has participated in many a lip-dub video herself, including one with Julia Allison, the New York party attendee who parlayed a career of writing about nothing for magazines to appearing on the cover of magazines for doing nothing. Allison is not mentioned in her piece, but she is surely present within it; Zuckerberg mentions "Flagpole Sitta," a lip dub performed by the employees of Connected Ventures, the ex-startup of Allison's ex-boyfriend Jakob Lodwick. Allison dispatched, Zuckerberg moves to targets closer to home, taking on the Camp Cyprus 20, the Internet 20somethings who filmed themselves singing along to "Don't Stop Believin'" at a seaside vacation home in Cyprus right as Wall Street imploded. What she does not mention: That the first person we see in the video is her Facebook coworker Dave Morin; Facebook engineers and designers appear later. Zuckerberg slams them all equally: "You hate them for having so much fun — damn that unbridled, financially secure joy!" Next target: Revision3, the San Francisco online-video startup best known for recording Diggnation, a podcast by Digg founder Kevin Rose. "They probably won't be recording any more lip dubs any time soon, we hear they laid off a third of their staff this week," Zuckerberg writes. Ouch! She could have added that after reading her article, Revision3 also won't be lending out its production facilities for any more of Zuckerberg's music videos, as it did for "Dontcha," a spoof about the iPhone. Ah, the smell of burnt bridges. Zuckerberg, in person, comes across as shy and self-effacing. The only hint of bile I ever detected was in a previous video, "Valleyfreude," where she mocks Friendster, an also-ran social network crushed by Facebook, and scoffs at Yahoo for offering Facebook a mere $1 billion in an acquisition offer her brother turned down. But Randi Zuckerberg has always had her eyes on a bigger stage than the Valley. Even her job at Facebook, running the site's election-related features, has been helpful in this regard, landing her on ABC and other news broadcasts to talk about online get-out-the-vote efforts. Now she's moonlighting for Tina Brown, in the hopes of getting her hooks into New York media circles. The Daily Beast, an unwieldy, overstaffed website, is an unlikely candidate to emerge from next year's economic wreckage. But that won't matter to Zuckerberg: She's already perfected the art of stepping over those she can safely discard. Watch out, Facebookers: Do you think she'll forget how you made her take "Valleyfreude" offline?

"I finally found what we have in common — we're attention whores"

Owen Thomas · 11/07/08 07:00PM

Hold on to that feeling! MySpace attempted to feign bubbliness last night with a Lionel Richie-headlined party at San Francisco's Old Mint. They even let in the competition: ubiquitous Facebooker Dave Morin is pictured here with iJustine, aka Justine Ezarik, the lifecasting personality, and, as commenter BowenDunlop helpfully notes, GeekSugar editor Heather Dale. Can you think of a better caption? Leave it in the comments. The best one will become the post's new headline. Yesterday's winner: Shadowlayer, for "Adidas: Run from your investors." (Photo by Brian Solis/Bub.blicio.us)

Facebook engineer stumped by Facebook-Salesforce.com news

Owen Thomas · 11/03/08 06:40PM

The Barnumesque blather of Facebook's platform evangelists is matched only by the bombastic inclarity of Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. How fitting that the two companies came together earlier today to obfuscate their joint efforts. When Facebook agent obscurateur Dave Morin posted about the incident, his colleague, engineer Luke Shepard, bravely scratched his head in public, on Morin's Facebook profile.

Twitter bug reveals friends-only messages

Owen Thomas · 10/24/08 04:00PM

Be careful what you Twitter — especially if you think the website will keep it secret for you. In 1999, Scott McNealy, then Sun's CEO, said, "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." Webheads have been diligently trying to prove him wrong since, with online tools that zealously guard our privacy. And yet they keep proving him right, with senseless coding errors which destroy the very privacy they try to protect. The latest example: Twitter. A Hungarian website, Webisztán, has found a simple exploit for Twitter.A feed of your friends' Twitter messages publicly lists all all messages, whether or not they're "protected." (Twitter users can choose to protect their messages so only designated "friends" can see them.) I decided to test the bug on some folks for whom privacy might be a fresh concern — two ringleaders of the infamous "Camp Cyprus" video, Facebook product manager Dave Morin, and Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Vascellaro. Both participated in a seaside frolic in Cyprus with several other Internet-employed individuals, which has become a symbol of Web 2.0 excess. Vascellaro made her Twitter messages private after she got back from her Cyprus vacation, after rather indiscreetly Twittering several updates about the progress of the video. Sure enough, Morin's feed of messages from Twitter friends contains a private message broadcasted by Vascellaro only to her designated friends. Fortunately, it's just a notice that she's "in need of Halloween costume ideas," rather than an update about a story she's filing for the paper. To see anyone else's private, friends-only messages, pick one of the user's friends, and then substitute their user name in this URL:

Facebooker Dave Morin turns 28, but fails to destroy Internet

Owen Thomas · 10/15/08 04:00AM

When I got an unauthorized invite, via a tipster, to Dave Morin's birthday party Tuesday night, I knew I had to crash — if only to find out what he and his friends were thinking. Morin, you see, is a Facebook employee and a prime instigator of Camp Cyprus, the gang of Internet instigators whose shockingly fun video scandalized a shaken Silicon Valley. What's with these Web kids? First they go to Cyprus and destroy the entire economy by filming themselves cavorting at a rich friend's dad's vacation house on the Mediterranean. The horror! But then, what's worse, they return to the United States, unashamed, and continue spending money and enjoying themselves! All this economic activity cannot end well!Can you imagine, kids in their twenties having a good time? This must end! Didn't they get Sequoia's memo? Morin, Facebook's official speaker-to-geeks, turned 28 and rented a downtown art gallery Tuesday night to celebrate. After I tracked down Morin, I gave him a salami I'd picked up at VC firm Alsop Louie's party earlier that night. (It was a heartfelt regifting.) Besides Morin, I identified several other members of Camp Cyprus:

It's the end of Web 2.0 as we know it

Owen Thomas · 10/12/08 06:00PM

The infamous Camp Cyprus 20 are trickling back home. And they feel fine. The twentysomethings of Camp Cyprus work at companies like Google, Facebook, and Blip.tv, all of which make a business of moving our lives online. They gathered at the Cyprus vacation home of Wall Street banker Bob Lessin, overlooking the wine-dark Mediterranean, at the invitation of his startup-founder son, Sam, for a vacation. And in this hyperconnected age, they must surely be aware that a lip-synching video they made of their trip was an Internet sensation, marking the end of an era. If they feel any shame for popping the Web 2.0 bubble, they are not blogging, Tumblring, Twittering, or FriendFeeding it. The only concession to embarrassment over the incident was making the video private — and of course, it promptly resurfaced on YouTube and elsewhere. Sam Lessin, in public, is a privacy freak; privacy is the sales pitch for his staggeringly unpopular blogging and file-sharing startup, Drop.io. But he invited a bunch of known oversharers — Facebookers Dave Morin and Meagan Marks, Google Maps marketer Brittany Bohnet, and the like — to his dad's vacation home, permitted the filming of the video, and starred in it himself. I doubt he cared very much that it became an Internet sensation. No, I suspect that this takedown had little to do with Web 2.0, and everything to do with Wall Street. Even before the mortgage bubble popped, launching the credit crisis, being showy with wealth just wasn't done in the circles Bob Lessin circulates in. Showing off your dad's sweet pad only seems like a good idea if you're a Harvard legacy in your early 20s. So is this the end of Web 2.0? Depends on what you mean by "Web 2.0." No one can quite agree. User-generated content? It's cheaper than the professionally generated kind; in recessionary times, it seems like it's here to stay. Likewise the fad for creating programmable interfaces for websites; getting coders to volunteer their time to make your product better sure sounds better than hiring them. No, the real test is whether this millennial generation will continue posting videos when they don't have splashy trips to celebrate. Will they continue updating friends with every change in their status, when the news isn't that they've gotten hired, launched a company, bought something expensive? When their buddies can't find work, when their startups run out of money, when they start leaving town en masse, what will they do? Promise to stay Facebook friends?

On Sequoia's firing line

Owen Thomas · 10/09/08 06:00PM

What plots are the members of "Camp Cyprus," a group of young webheads, cooking up? Perhaps we'll read about them in a Wall Street Journal front-page A-hed, since reporter Jessica Vascellaro was on the scene, along with Wall Street-scion boyfriend Sam Lessin, the CEO of Drop.io. Can you think of a better caption? Leave it in the comments; the best one will become the new headline of the post. Yesterday's winner: TheChris2.0, for "McCain and Whitman unveil Social Security plan." (Photo by Sam Lessin)

WSJ reporter parties in Cyprus with people she covers

Owen Thomas · 10/09/08 05:00PM

You can never escape the media! Valleywag's favorite hot-tech-company couple, Facebooker Dave Morin and Googler Brittany Bohnet, weren't vacationing in Cyprus alone. A whole group, "Campcyprus," attended the get-together in the Mediterranean island's Turkish-controlled sector. And who was in the in crowd? Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Vascellaro, who covers Facebook and Google, and her startup-founder boyfriend, Drop.io CEO Sam Lessin, the son of ultrawealthy investment banker Bob Lessin. Sam, who's normally obsessed with privacy, posted this photo of the couple. So cute!And now I know why I got an out-of-office message from her when I complained about her nicking not one but two of my recent stories on Facebook for a Journal article! But I would have been more impressed with Vascellaro's honesty if she had said that she was going to Cyprus with "sources" rather than, as she Twittered, "buddies." Catch Vascellaro's cameo in Bohnet's latest video: Cyprus Lip Dub - Don't Stop Believing from Brittany Bohnet on Vimeo. (Photo by Sam Lessin)

Valley's cutest couple ever creates cutest video ever

Owen Thomas · 10/08/08 09:00PM

Click to viewHoly frack. Is there any couple more adorable than Facebook platform director Dave Morin and his lady love, evangelicious Google Maps marketer Brittany Bohnet? Their employers may be rivals for developers' affections, but this lip-sync video of "All My Life," created on a road-trip through Cyprus, has no competition for the remaining drips of sentiment in my sappy little heart. Will you two crazy kids quit your dead-end jobs and start a company devoted to, I don't know, being the winsomest thing in the world? I'd invest in preferred shares of teary-cheeked admiration, at a valuation of 15 billion awwwws.

A gigantic picture of Robert Scoble for no reason

Owen Thomas · 09/24/08 03:20PM

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Fast Company videoblogger Robert Scoble, who has discovered in the Web a popularity which escaped him in high school, has been moderating a panel titled "Web 2.0/Web 3.0 Mashup" at MIT's EmTech conference for the past hour. There are people from Facebook, Six Apart, and Plaxo on stage with him. With no introduction, Scoble launched into a meandering conversation about data portability, online video, URIs, social TV guides, and the Olympics. An hour later, it still has no sign of going anywhere. Joseph Smarr of Plaxo talks very fast. Dave Morin of Facebook seems very tired. Sample quote: "The pace of change is not indexable from a central service." The audience appears to be stunned into stupor. Does it matter that nothing is being said? Perhaps not; perhaps the point is to show this audience of technology generalists how insubstantial the obsessions of the Valley's geek set are.

The Facebook toga party according to Fake Sheryl Sandberg

FakeSherylSandberg · 08/26/08 09:00PM

PALO ALTO — (Ed.'s note: Please welcome Fake Sheryl Sandberg, Valleywag's newest contributor.) I left Google for this. What was I thinking? Sure, Larry and Sergey were adolescents who built themselves a candy-colored playground. But Zuck makes them look like old men. Mr. Adidas rolled into the office around 10 this morning — early for him — and asked, "So, are we throwing a party?" "What for?" I asked. "Sheryl, didn't you see my status update?" You know, I used to give status updates to Larry Summers when I was his chief of staff. In Washington. The other Washington.Anyway, Zuck starts gushing about how great it is Facebook now has 100 million users. I'm thinking, "Yeah, great, we're buying unlimited photo storage for 100 million freeloaders. Have you ever done the bandwidth bill on that, kid?" But he won't shut up. I close my eyes, breathe, put on my happy face, and reply, "Yes, Mark, that's an amazing milestone. We really should celebrate it appropriately. What do you think of Joe putting on a wine-and-cheese reception this evening, like he used to do for me at Google?" Zuckerberg's face darkens. "No!" he shouts like a toddler. "We're doing a toga party!" My smile stays pasted on. I calculate the risks. "Of course, Mark! This is your company. I understand how important the culture is." I get on the phone to Joe Desimone and tell him — surprise! — we're throwing a party. He can cater for 500 on no notice, right? Mark leads his children's crusade out to the park. I stay behind to rework the Q3 spreadsheets. After he's done cheering them with a megaphone about how they're changing the world, they head straight to the cafeteria building. There's a keg of beer there. No, there are three kegs. No, five. I can't dodge them anymore, so I walk in and survey the roomful of kids in bedsheets that came from God knows where. They're all 23. They're all dating each other. They're all hopped up on beer and Red Bull that our shareholders paid for. Suddenly, I feel claustrophobic. I can't face these brats. I glide to the bathroom, lock the door, and do the deep-breathing exercises my yoga master Kellison taught me. I steel myself and walk back out. Next thing I know, that joker Dave Morin is wrapping me in a toga. At last, I laugh, while making mental notes about which of these overrated twentysomethings I'm going to fire, in which order.

Mark is all smiles until Dave explains the "vomitorium"

Owen Thomas · 08/26/08 06:00PM

From a tipster: Omnipresent Facebook evangelist Dave Morin shows up at his company's impromptu toga party to celebrate the social networks' 100 millionth user. To the left, CEO Mark Zuckerberg; on the right, togaless Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz. Can you think of a better caption? Leave your suggestion in the comments; the best one will become the post's new headline. Yesterday's winner: "Bathroom line turns ugly at Gnomedex," by WagCurious.

Facebook founder marks 100 million users with a profile update

Jackson West · 08/26/08 03:00AM

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg announced that the site had reached a nice, round 100 million active users by way of a status update on his profile. Though he may have been scooped by Dave Morin, a senior manager in Facebook's platform group — on Twitter. Which should make for an awkward meeting. Marketing at least used the right tools to trumpet Facebook's reach, but they might also expect a grumpy young master soon, too. Why?

Facebook ladies shake it on stage with Thievery Corporation

Nicholas Carlson · 07/25/08 02:20PM

Maybe Facebook's hackathon wasn't an all-nighter like founder Mark Zuckerberg prefers, but that didn't stop Facebook hotties Brandee Barker, Caitlin O'Farrell, Kathleen Loughlin and Raquel DiSabatino from enjoying themselves on stage with Thievery Corporation. Apparently, the crowd enjoyed them on stage too. "So awesome," commented Facebook's Dave Morin, despite being very taken by Google's Brittany Bohnet. Here's what we want to know about the video: Where's Sheryl Sandberg? What, mama don't dance no more? We hear her team insisted she wear jeans to the event, a fashion move the buttoned-up Sandberg almost never makes. But dancing must have been a step too far.

Twitter lets us stalk Facebook's Dave Morin through New York like we're Google's Brittany Bohnet

Nicholas Carlson · 06/02/08 05:40PM

The rift between Google and Facebook has been dug deep by Facebook's executive poachings, ultimate frisbee triumphs and partnership with Microsoft. But across that chasm reaches the love between Googler Brittany Bohnet and Facebook's Dave Morin. While my boss tracked down Bohnet the old-fashioned way at Marissa Mayer's birthday festivities, I kept tabs on my prey, Morin, via Twitter, virtually stalking him on a trip through New York that took him as high as a helicopter over Herald Square and as low as a night out with New York's most notorious gossip.