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The Twitter advocate

Tweeting has become second nature for some of us. You tweet what your friend wore to a party the night before, you tweet what you wore to the same party and then you tweet who looked better.
Tweeting has become a vital part of our social, personal and professional lives. Next to Facebook, it’s that all-important action that keeps you connected and pertinent in this digital world in which we live.
Forgetting to tweet is right up there with forgetting to feed your cat for some of us. It’s become a ritual as natural as eating, and certainly less caloric. It’s the challenge of self-editing our angst and turmoil of emotions into 140 characters or less. Suffice it to say, to the tweeters majority, it’s important.
And what you say in your tweet is free speech. You can say Clint Eastwood was awesome at the Republican National Convention, or you can write that (in those 140 characters or less) the empty chair he talked to for most of the night had more to say.
The point is, it’s a venue that should and does (for the most part) remain neutral when it comes to content. But that freedom to voice our opinions, thoughts and ideas is an area that is maintained and fought for by Twitter’s chief lawyer, Alexander Macgillivray.
An article published in The New York Times recently introduced us to the man who tries to keep those lines of communication open and receptive to just about anything we might want to say.
Macgillivray’s quote from the NY Times article says it all: “We value the reputation we have for defending and respecting the user’s voice. We think it’s important to our company and the way users think about whether to use Twitter, as compared to other services.”
Recently Macgillivray and his legal team went up against a court order to pull an Occupy Wall Street protestor’s Twitter posts. The week before that, per the article, they clashed with Indian government officials who were trying to take down accounts they considered instigative.
The article states that Macgillivray’s attempts aren’t always successful. And that sometimes what he tries to do conflicts terribly with another essential component of Twitter’s existence: to be profitable. And because that component will be highlighted should Twitter go public and have to start playing footsie with the governments of the different countries in which it operates, it could really get sticky. According to the article, most Twitter users live outside the United States and the company is opening offices overseas.
Of course, most of our tweets aren’t exactly of the magnitude of someone seeking to incite the Indian government. But it is nice to know that if we tick off some high-ranking official by tweeting, we have an advocate out there who will fight for our rights to do so.

Angela Rogalski is a print journalism senior who lives in Abbeville. Follow her on Twitter @abbeangel.