Twitter CEO Dick Costolo used to do improv at Second City and likes to say stand-up comedy taught him everything he knows about business, but his joke reflex fell painfully flat yesterday. (The full NSFW Storify is below.)
@ProfJeffJarvis, a satirical Twitter account that mashes together meaningless startup jargon to expose thinkfluencers for the charlatans they are, decided to have a little fun with the company's decision to force unavoidable images and video previews (hey-o, advertisers) into your stream. Rurik Bradbury, the Unison cofounder behind the @ProfJeffJarvis parody account, used the new feature to post a dick pic. Then, he started tweeting at Dick Costolo to ask the CEO, with mock alarm, why on Earth he was losing followers so quickly.
Costolo, who is currently on a road show selling his company to investors pre-IPO, responded to the fake account twice with prompt sincerity, rather than his usual jokey demeanor, seemingly blind to the words "_Fake_ Jeff Jarvis" on the Twitter bio—and the dick pic posted farther downstream.
The @ProfJeffJarvis account is now suspended. "They got me on a technicality," Bradbury told Valleywag this evening. "I have a feeling it was against the TOS. I actually downloaded my tweet archive yesterday-feeling it might be shut down. Like a hara-kiri ritual."
Bradbury assured us the illustrious member on display was not his own, nor Michael Fassbender's, but rather sourced from "Google Images' finest." Initially, Bradbury "experimented with running the dick pic as paid Promoted Tweet," he said. "But it was 'Under review.'"
It's possible that Costolo was affecting an epic deadpan, and we've reached out to the company for comment. But if this is how Twitter's CEO interacts with parody accounts, it's even harder to believe that 5 percent spam number the company floated in its SEC filings.