Reading List: Hatching Twitter

UPDATED: May 22, 2023
PUBLISHED: December 14, 2013

New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton’s impressively detailed fly-on-the-wall exposé of the micro-blogging site’s birth and evolution evokes all the titillating elements of a soap opera (minus the sex). Twitter’s co-founders Evan “Ev” Williams, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass and Biz Stone—colleagues and friends at the outset—eventually bicker, backstab and take sides. There’s jealousy, intrigue, personality clashes and territorial skirmishes. Sometimes this discordant quartet seems to break up just to make up. And while their back stories and squabbles are entertaining and cringe-worthy (and occasionally confusing), the biggest surprise is the degree to which serendipitous choices—from the company’s name or using @ and #, to limiting tweets to 140 characters—played a part in its success and impact on how the world communicates.

Bilton’s nuts and bolts will keep techies engaged; he also serves up a generous helping of gossipy anecdotes and goings-on—for instance, the time Biz and Ev went to Al Gore’s apartment at the St. Regis Hotel for dinner and “got drunk” while the former veep tried to convince them to sell him a slice of Twitter, and the unannounced drop-ins that included Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. John McCain. You can bet the Twitterverse will buzz about Hatching Twitter.

by Nick Bilton

Portfolio; $28.95

Jessica Krampe is the digital managing editor for A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Jessica has worked for news, entertainment, business and lifestyle publications. Outside of the daily grind, she enjoys happy hours, live music and traveling.