It wouldn't be fair to say that the Twitter executives declined requests for comment, although the requests were many. USA TODAY did not phone or e-mail Twitter headquarters. And, the Twitter executives weren't alone. Many others did not respond to USA TODAY's tweeted requests for comment, including Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and Sun Microsystems' Jonathan Schwartz.
One explanation may be that many of the best-known executives have hundreds of thousands of followers. Williams had 771,768 followers as of late Wednesday, and Dorsey and Stone each have more than 600,000. They are swamped with tweets, so many that they may not have time to cull through even those that are directed at them. However, Tony Hsieh, CEO of online retailer Zappos, had 658,901 followers late Wednesday, and he found time to deliver a one-tweet response.
"Capitalism will always be part of the US economy, but I think more people are realizing there's more to life than money," Hsieh said.
Even though Schwartz didn't respond, it's of no consequence because his tweets are written by an imposter, as are those of Microsoft's Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, tweeted Amy Dean, co-founder of tweetexorcist.com, a site that exposes tweeters posing as celebs, athletes and executives. Some use ghost tweeters, including Guy Kawasaki, former Apple whiz and now venture capitalist, Dean says.
An interview request from @jonesdel
Twitter is new to most CEOs, and many had been testing it for only a few weeks or days when this landed on their screens: "@jonesdel: Reporting USA TODAY cover story entirely on Twitter. Topic: Is U.S. economy evolving away from capitalism? Your thoughts please."
Back came the Robbins tweet: "Government (Gummit) controls business. I ate Chinese 2 days ago. The restaurant had 9 licenses/permits on the wall. (1of2)."
OK, sounds like Robbins is an opponent of regulation?
"US has moved to fascism- Private "ownership", but gummit control by rules, regs, statutes, agencies. Free-market being bled out."
Please go on.
"Observed in Decl. of Ind. [king has...] sent swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance."
"We may have capitalism but we no longer have free market capitalism. We have not evolved. Our system has devolved. :-)"
CEOs' opinions regarding the fate of capitalism range widely: "US is not evolving away from capitalism, it is evolving towards a better form of it – one that is more balanced and responsible," tweeted Nova Spivack, CEO and founder of San Francisco technology venture Radar Networks. "I am generally in favor of more regulation of giant corporations, healthcare reform, energy and financial industry oversight, etc."
"Gov role now to correct greed driven excess in markets," tweeted Stuart Blake, founder and CEO of legal services provider The General Counsel. "What do you think it was like as US evolved from agri econ to industrial in 1800's? US must now evolve into global econ w/ethics."