Writer Bill Barol: ‘Twitter Owes Me $62,000’

Freelance writer Bill Barol has planted his tongue firmly in cheek to say that Twitter owes him sixty-two thousand clams for content that mysteriously disappeared from the microblogging service.

He wrote about the experience on Forbes, saying that he had about 4,000 Tweets randomly vanish, with no response from Twitter support.


By my calculations those 4000 tweets contain 65,000 words. We’ll subtract the 147 tweets you currently show for me (2388 words, and again, I’m rounding down, and you’re welcome) and we arrive at 62,612 words. Here’s where we get out the abacus. No — you know what? Let’s make it simple. Over the course of my freelance career I’ve been paid all sorts of fees, but if I were to smooth them all out to a fair average that average would be around $1 per word. Which means the value of my missing work product is just over $62,000, and again, that’s rounding down.

Barol had, unsurprisingly, no success at collecting the money “owed” him for his missing “work” (here’s one such example of the, er, work) but Twitter did finally restore his tweets.

The whole thing is meant to start a discussion about how free services will never be more than “everyone’s quirky little pal” unless they take care of downtime issues (see Tumblr’s recent problems) but it turns out that even pay services have hellacious downtimes every now and then (and we’re still waiting for our credit, Skype).

The moral of the story? We don’t know. Maybe it’s “you get what you pay for” and if you’re using a free service, your words ain’t worth jack.