This afternoon, a flood of personal messages sent from Biz Stone’s Twitter account implored people to vote for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
Could the co-founder of Twitter possibly be another Twitter hack victim? The social media site lit up with concern and confusion. But Stone was simply engaging in a some old-fashioned, get-out-the-vote campaigning.
Stone, who left Twitter earlier this year, has trumpeted a new voting platform called Votizen, and he decided to test a share function Friday. It queued up messages to send from Stone’s account, roughly 125 tweets in two minutes, and sent them to each person on Stone’s follower list — from the White House to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
David Binetti, co-founder and CEO of Votizen, was at the Twitter headquarters, when the messages started going out. Even though he helped found Votizen to make an impact on social networks, he was taken aback by just how quickly one influential user could spread a message. The Votizen account tweeted out a surprised-sounding welcome message:
Votizen launched this year as a social media tool to foster grass-roots campaigning. It taps into people’s vast systems of friends and followers to get their personal political message out to their virtual mailing list.
Binetti said that Stone intended to send the message out, but they would have to check in to see if he meant to share it with everyone.
However, Binetti said, “it’s exactly proving the point that this can be remarkably effective. Twitter is incredibly good for messages like this.“
Though some users cringed at the idea that Stone was sending out automated messages, Binetti said Stone wanted to share the message with his friends. And if more people saw the message than the 535 people Stone follows, “Our political process can stand for more transparency.”