Lord save us from official morons with Twitter

Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, doesn’t get how Twitter works. He thinks the technology is biased against him. Look: if you don’t know how to use a tool properly, own up to it and get help. Don’t flail around blaming technology for your own ignorance.

Giuliani tweeted this:

Giuliani made a simple mistake: He left out the space between G-20 and In. Twitter is smart enough to see two words with a period between as a potential URL and to link to it, provided that the second word is legal as part of a domain name. In this case, “In” is the top-level domain for India. So Twitter assumed that Giuliani was trying to link to G-20.In, a Web site in India.

There was no such web site, or at least there wasn’t when he tweeted it. A guy named Jason Velazquez bought the domain name for five bucks and built a page on it in 15 minutes. So now if you happen to click on the blue text in Giuliani’s tweet, you get to a site that looks like this:

Look, everyone makes mistakes, like leaving out a space. And sometimes technology makes those mistakes more severe. Giuliani is supposed to be knowledgeable about tech — as the head of a cybersecurity firm, he was designated as President Trump’s cybersecurity advisor before Trump tapped him as his lawyer.

If you made the mistake in this tweet, what would you do next?

You could post a corrected tweet.

You could delete the tweet with the error.

You could ask someone who actually knows about Twitter to help you.

Giuliani did none of these things. Instead he accused Twitter of anti-Trump bias:

This might as well say “I am a paranoid moron.” This tweet is apparently referring here to the word combination “Helsinki.Either” in the previous tweet, which has no link. Of course, there is no country or other entity that uses .Either as its domain, so Helsinki.Either isn’t a valid domain. This is not rocket science. It’s a little simpler explanation than that Twitter is singling out Giuliani for unfair treatment.

This technology incompetence and bad typing is pretty typical for Trump’s cybersecurity advisor and lawyer. He leaves out the spaces after commas and question marks all the time. And if you can make sense of this tweet, please let me know what coded message it represents:

Covfefe indeed.

Get help

We imagined at one time that tools like Twitter would put us directly in touch with the actual thinking of people in government, without the need for pesky intermediaries like press secretaries.

Our dream has come true. Thanks to Twitter, you can now see exactly what is going on in Rudy Giuliani’s mind (and Trump’s as well).

The purpose of PR staffs, technology helpers, and advisors is to provide expertise that leaders are lacking. There is no shame in a leader who doesn’t know everything and needs help (unless, say, you’ve held yourself out as an expert in technology).

It is not embarrassing to be ignorant — and it is curable. The cure, however, is to admit you need help and to ask for it.

Giuliani would apparently rather stay ignorant.

And that is embarrassing.

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  1. You could write a very long book about what Giuliani doesn’t understand. It’s scary that many of our leaders don’t know the basics on the companies that they’re investigating and criticizing.

  2. Well, you missed an important point.

    While blaming the guy’s mistake, then lack of knowledge, then discrediting his further comment, you missed the point that he was correct.

    As clear evidence shows, it was taken by “committed cardcarrying anti-Trumpers. ”

    I mean it could have just as easily said “. . . Hillary Clinton is a traitor to our country” … but it didn’t.

    It could have just as easily said “. . . Michelle Obama is a prostitute” or any of a thousand other politically incorrect blasts against a myriad of targets . . . but instead, took the advantage to strike out against Trump.

    However, having said that … there’s much more to the story than we see. That domain was unavailable. This was some kind of inside job where one of the rogue registrars in league with cyber crime made the domain available to this anti-trumper.

    ’nuff said.

    1. “That domain was unavailable. This was some kind of inside job where one of the rogue registrars in league with cyber crime made the domain available to this anti-trumper”

      Let’s look at facts.

      Giuliani said Twitter was to blame. Twitter treated this URL as would any other that anyone types in in any tweet. So that’s wrong.

      The domain was registered with GoDaddy.com, as you can see here: https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=g-20.in&recaptchaResponse=03ADlfD190A2enraLGeeYvA_50_KZFer4Xd29nx4CfvmiMMRWguEhr9zZrqlDBWIWfJbOmPcMYQFl3Rg70hW7rEkVvoCrRu6kLKnLr1HDfqTqWUt3jGMXxsU6ntkuPVBFH8UDrO5MwIrhgcMuiCIZD-bbFOXoNlDmsPtxKCoq23mV1Bfqixz0W9rFSFH48Gk-i0b5_ZxP_TALo87k7mVOGUF7IrmJUn_WXuWxotHirc0dd4tRCjGwVEUZHxUqYo1QW9BJB3lKZ6oFWkFhINCX4ktROhtPrgGIXvA&isc=gofdh073

      So you think GoDaddy is in league with Antifa?

      Jason Velazquez from Pixel Riot, who registered the site, is an ordinary Web developer. See http://voyageatl.com/interview/meet-jason-velazquez-pixel-riot-midtown-atlanta/

      No evidence that he’s in Antifa.

      Please come back to the same reality as the rest of us.

    1. No … sorry, G-20.in is actually gone. It’s an Indian provider. Sorry. Don’t know how to delete the last posts. You can delete them. Thanks.

      But the fact still remains : those who took advantage of the mistake and exploited the domain are indeed Antifa. So Giuliani was correct in his comment.

      1. Those who took advantage = one web developer. There is no conspiracy here, just an individual with different opinions than the current administration. And willing to pull a prank.

        Do you define anyone pulling a political prank as Antifa? Or just the ones you disagree with?

  3. Who hasn’t sent out tweets or phone messages with typos or (sometimes hilarious) word substitutions created by “auto correct”? Most readers would know that Giuliani didn’t intend to send readers to a URL in India; they’d know that he merely forgotten to hit the spacing key. At most, he needs to write something like “Oops, typo. Correct message should read……”

    Even if G believes that anti-Trump conspirators interfere with tweets, this is not the place to introduce that concept; that concept would best be introduced and explored in a different Twitter thread. The goal of G’s initial tweet is to raise questions about the timing of Mueller’s indictment; a follow-up tweet about anti-Trump interference from within Twitter 1) distracts readers from what the first message intends to communicate and 2) makes G look paranoid.

    “Without Bullshit” investigates flaws in communication, not the truth/falsehood of the ideas being communicated. Strategically, G’s communication style (how he reacts to an apparent typo, how he sequences ideas on the Twitter format) works against him; it makes his thinking look disorganized and paranoid.

    One could write a treatise about the pros and cons of Twitter (which limits each tweet to a small number of characters) as a vehicle for mass communication – when/how it should be used, and when not. It’s great for sound bite headlines that update readers on the latest events; one can also use it to “chum the (emotional) water”, tweet phrases that trigger widespread emotional reactions. It’s not so good for exploring a concept in depth.