Friday, March 1, 2013

Rebuttal of the Rebuttal: Say What, Zach!?

Posted by DesertCroneNM

I read Zach Green's rebuttal of his critics with amusement and a little dismay. Asking legitimate questions about Unite Blue hardly qualifies as a smear campaign. In fact, I asked some of those very questions myself and was very irritated with the evasive non-answers I received. I felt many of the answers Zach wrote in his blog post defy common sense. (Previous post: Four Reasons I Broke Up with Twitter . . .)
First: Zach claims he supported Buddy Roemer's campaign because "'Buddy Roemer only had one issue: get money out of politics.'" No, Zach, Mr. Roemer had other issues: supporting the Keystone Pipeline, a wall along the border with Mexico, supports a flat tax, things the Tea Party is good for America (which voids his support of the Occupy movement, don't you think?), raising the eligibility age for Social Security, anti-choice, support of DOMA, and the repeal of Obamacare -- which are all anathema to liberals. Some liberals have dismissed Zach's connection with Roemer by saying that they liked Buddy while at the same time excoriating President Obama for even mentioning chained CPI. I find that odd. But like Roemer (once member of the Democratic Party and then the GOP and now Independent), Zach seems to change his associations according to the political winds. For example, Zach also hosted a Tea Party town hall on Twitter.  In fact, S.E. Cupp even tweeted her appreciation:
I'm a loyal, lifelong liberal Democrat. I'm not interested in following an organization that seems to have no political loyalties whatsoever. I have said from the time I became aware of Unite Blue, it is a money-making venture. In fact, Adam Green, Zach's father, writes in his blog:
So does this mean that Twitter development is done, and devs (developers) will just move elsewhere? No way. Devs go where the customers are, and the customers are using Twitter in increasing numbers. I do development as a business and as a businessman, I go where the money is. That is still Twitter.
Show me the money!

Second: In his rebuttal, Zach wants us to believe that he's quite naive about cookies. He writes in response to the question: Are you tracking us across the Internet with cookies?
Before people started asking this I didn’t know it was even possible. Our CTO says it is apparently. We’re not doing it, nor do I understand why we would.
 I have such a difficult time believing that the co-founder of a Twitter consulting company doesn't understand the purpose of collecting information from cookies and IP addresses. Zach's tweet below is why I am very skeptical about his naïveté about cookies. 
Hmmmmm.  What data might that be?  And how do collect that data? Cookies? IP addresses?

Third: Here's what Zach wrote about how one joins Unite Blue.  In reply to Did you steal ConnectTheLeft’s Lists?  Zach says,
No. Every member of UniteBlue has to tweet  'I want to join @UniteBlue' to get on our Lists. It started from scratch. Others can feel free to use our Lists how they like. They are public. 
Come on, Zach. You know that's just not true. I never tweeted I wanted to join Unite Blue, but there I was following Unite Blue and on the list as well. Oh, and that second account you started--We Demand A Vote--I never followed it either. Yet, there I was as a follower.  And many other twitterers have the same complaint. Again, many of us never ever tweeted "I want to join @uniteblue."  We weren't even aware of such a group till around the first of February, when we were deluged with hundreds of followers and DMs from Unite Blue.  During that time I was getting about forty follows a day, and my number of followers jumped from 1730 followers to approximately 2050 in less than a week.  So, no Zach, you didn't start your list from scratch. And this reminds me of another question. Why, if you started Unite Blue in September 2012, did we just start seeing Unite Blue follows and hashtags in February 2013? What a coincidence that UB appeared about the time TGDN also appeared on the Twitter scene. 

Also, Zach knows that you can change the name on an account and still keep all the followers, follows, and Tweets from the previous account. He knows this because his father and's CTO, Adam (not the same Adam Green from Bold Progressives), explains it so well in another blog post (which has since been pulled so here's a shot of the cached file):

We recently had a client that paid us to help build up a series of accounts for his political campaign. Most of the effort went into growing a qualified follower list for a single engagement account. This is the account that interacted with supporters and sent out various versions of the campaign messaging to test them for later use in the candidate’s own account. When the campaign finally came to an end, his staff deleted this engagement account. What a waste! Most people don’t realize it, but you can change everything about a Twitter account and still retain all the followers.  We’ve changed the screen name of accounts lots of times, and all the followers were always retained. As long as the account’s new purpose and message is similar to its previous incarnation, this seems completely ethical, and there are no restrictions on this from Twitter. You can change everything about an account, and since it retains the original user id all the links for followers, retweets, etc. still work in Twitter’s database. We’ve never had a complaint from a follower of an account that had this type of conversion.
So the next time you or a client are tempted to erase an account after you no longer need it, don’t do it. Recycle, reuse, repurpose applies to Twitter accounts. Think of all the energy used to power the servers building that account. Save it for another use.
Last, I would urge you to read another post by Adam Green. Basically, Adam discusses how he created a Twitter group, compiled a list of names, and then provided that list to a client.  Sound vaguely familiar?  (Oops! This post has been removed, too. But here's a screen grab)

I find it odd that the two of Adam Green's blog posts that closely describe Zach Green's actions with UniteBlue have been deleted from his father's blog site,  But then again, I have found many things about Zach Green's venture to be odd.  However, what I find strangest of all is that liberals would so quickly and enthusiastically jump on the UB bandwagon without any curiosity about the owner of the bandwagon or its purpose.

Much grattitude to my niece @jhw2212 and Jennifer on this blog for her research, proofreading, and support.


Shoq Value said...

Please see my comment on Carl's earlier post on this important topic:

Shoq Value said...

It should also be noted that "No Labels," which Buddy Roemer belonged to and endorsed, had Bain capital director's among it's founders and board. This would seem to make a complete mockery of Zach's progressive political awareness, if not his words that "We liked that. We fought to curb the influence of Wall Street, special interests, and millionaires"

I just don't know the Greens well enough to really know what is going on here. One woman I respect greatly swears that she knows them and that their intentions are blue, honorable, and pure. Another old friend seems to thinks a knee-jerk response to a totally exaggerated threat and an ad hoc directory of progressives makes all this drama and internecine tension worthwhile.

I am always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, but as is widely known publicly at this point, I've also misjudged character on an epic scale at times. Even so, I am trying to keep an open mind, but posts like this one are helping me close it on this issue. There's still a crack left, though.

"There's a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." -Leonard Cohen

Matt Osborne said...

Good post and great detective work. I'm not so worried about sinister RW influences as I am sad that a sophisticated team followback scheme is turning activists into marketing fodder.

Concerned Progressive on Twitter said...

Exactly what are your qualifications in this regard, Shoq? I read your blog post. I also read some of the other posts on your blog. Most of them are negative rants about other people that you're pissed at for some reason or other. There's very little on your blog that is positive about either progressives on Twitter, or progressives in general.

Your "about trolls" page which you automatically DM to people is nothing but a weird rant about your ex-girlfriend and her friends, and former online friends of yours. Some of your long and confusing blog posts are just as strange.

And who could forget your baseless and cruel attack on GottaLaff, who is one of Twitter's progressive veterans and an all-around good person.

And then there's your database of enemies, which should be of serious concern to anyone considering taking you seriously.

What's your resume? What do you do? What have you accomplished? Why should anyone listen to you? You're just an anonymous person on Twitter who has managed to amass only 15K followers in 6 long years. Is this about other people having more followers than you or is this about real concerns (like the ones DesertCrone mentioned)?

You can't expect people to trust your judgment when they have no basis to judge your credentials as a progressive.

From what I've seen, you spend a lot of time criticizing other people and criticizing other people's work, and tweeting politicial niceties that have little effect on any actual progressive movement. You did the same thing with OWS.

So please share. What do you bring to the table? Other than gripes and negativity?

You tweet like you know how to lead a progressive movement, yet I haven't seen you do anything but attack and complain about other people.

You want transparency? How about showing some yourself. Otherwise you look like someone who orders your friends to write posts for them so you can keep your hands clean when it all goes wrong, and it looks like it has with Matt Osborne's hit job on Simon accusing him of lying, forgery, and fraud.

For starters, it would be nice to hear what your professional relationship to Matt Osborne is and why so many of the posts on his blog are dedicated to defending you or attacking other people on your behalf.

So let's hear it. Otherwise, I think your opinions and your blog posts can and should be ignored.

Concerned Progressive on Twitter said...

I messed up one of the links. This is the "about trolls" link.

I truly am interested in what you have to say in response, if anything.

@jsigwart said...

Your ex-girlfriend is stalking you again, Shoq.

Seriously girl, move on. <3

Anonymous said...

I joined for about 2 hours until I saw all the tweets to follow them and each other... follows to me aren't popularity contest and the way Unite was racking them up I began a little research... found 140 and stuff about Zach and dad so asked to be removed from list. Got email saying no that I should just learn to use my own lists - condescending so asked for removal again and was refused again. So I tweeted his refusal. Got email saying I would be removed only after I deleted my tweet about them. I complied and think was removed from lists but also blocked from seeing UniteBlue tweets. Donate to OFA or candidate directly not this data/money scam

Elodie said...

Good post and great detective work. I'm not so worried about sinister RW influences as I am sad that a sophisticated team followback scheme is turning activists into marketing fodder.

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