10 Of The Smartest People On Twitter This (Goat) Week

Okay, so not everyone on the list is a person per se, but Fast Company‘s West Coast correspondent Alice Truong weighs in on smart, funny, and thought-provoking tweets she spotted this week.

10 Of The Smartest People On Twitter This (Goat) Week

Since I reported a story that originated from a tweet, I’ll start with Nick DePetrillo, the security researcher who offered $100 to the first person who could hack Touch ID‘s fingerprint sensor. Since sending out that tweet Wednesday night, others have pooled in–dollars, Bitcoin, wine–putting the prize at more than $16,000. It even managed to snag a corporate sponsor pledging a sum of $10,000.


I came across Josh Shahryar’s Twitter feed because of a poignant comment of his on the Navy Yard shooting. A Muslim journalist and human rights activist, Shahryar has weighed in on a number of issues this week, including the Miss America pageant, his experience qualifying for food stamps (some of which have since been deleted), and his relationship to a missing political activist. (He even managed to watch eight Bollywood movies this week–impressive.)

Speaking of food stamps, as the House of Representative voted to cut food stamp spending by $40 billion over 10 years, SF Weekly‘s Anna Roth, who frequents places I’d love to go to, has been documenting on Twitter what it’s been like to live off $4.50 a day. Her first meal after a weeklong challenge on food stamps was “a rich bowl of tonkatsu ramen at a hip Mission spot that cost more than half of my food budget for the week,” she wrote. “I threw it up.”

As a female tech writer, I have to appreciate CNN’s Heather Kelly analyzing the gender breakdown at various tech publications. The testosterone at tech conferences and news events can be tiring. When I was down in Cupertino last week covering Apple’s iPhone 5C and 5S debut, I heard a fellow female journo describe the event as a sausagefest. Too bad Kelly didn’t include Fast Company. She’d likely be pleased with the XX representation over here.

On Kelly’s chart, The Verge was highlighted as having the most male staff, and managing editor Nilay Patel gave a bit more insight into the gender imbalance.


I’m always learning something by following BoingBoing’s science editor Maggie Koerth-Baker, who often tweets the obscure or fascinating–often both. This week, she tackled medical apartheid, the science behind her attachment to her Roomba, and great scientific duos. One particularly entertaining moment was when Facebook almost shut down BoingBoing’s page for a NSFW picture.

This week, Marissa Mayer the Yahoo CEO was Marissa Mayer the tweetbot. On Thursday, some people began tweeting “If Marissa Mayer RTs this, I’ll…,” pledging to change their homepage to Yahoo, use the company’s services, or stop making fun of its new logo. Mayer did indeed retweet 11 of these messages–was this a sign of desperation or willingness to do anything it takes to get people using Yahoo again?

Residents of San Francisco love to complain about the clouds that cloak the city. The Twitter embodiment Karl the Fog loves to rub his presence in other people’s faces (especially tourists’), but he’s also attuned to the techie nature of his hometown.

On Monday, I surprised myself by willingly clicking on a promoted tweet, a sign of an effective ad (and tweet). I learned from Nerdy Data, a tool for coders, marketers, and others, that about 72,000 sites of the 140 million it indexes contain the term “parallax.”

Also, it was very apparent from my Twitter feed that it was Goat Week–“like Shark Week, but with goats.” Thanks Modern Farmer (and guest tweeter Dan Sinker) for teaching me more about goats than I ever cared to learn.

Bonus: Tim Cook joined Twitter on Friday. With only one tweet posted thus far, he hasn’t shared anything too thought provoking yet. But maybe he’ll start using the platform to chitchat with his buddy Carl Icahn, who last month moved markets with a single tweet.


[Image: Flickr user ashraful kadir]

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.