Mar 30, 2008

The Evolution of Twitter

I’ve been wondering how much usefulness Twitter is going to have as a conversation device. I mean I like it a lot and all, but I do wonder if other people are going to start using it to send each other links to articles about Britney’s newest hairstyle or to live tweet from a Jonas Brothers concert.

Maybe. And it wouldn’t surprise me if they did, if Twitter took off and became the most social of all social media.

But I have my doubts. You see, the same way most people don’t want to “create content” they don’t really want to take the time to constantly update Twitter and/or read other people’s updates. As I expounded upon in Social Media Is Only Social If You’re Alone, most people are in actual daily contact with the people they care about most. The phenomenon of living thousands of miles from your nearest and dearest is largely confined to the BoBo classes. (And the immigrants who work for them, but that’s a different story.)

So one way I can see Twitter evolving (a thought inadvertently spawned by a comment from one of Steve Rubel’s followers) is as a forum for experts. You sign up to receive tweets from experts in various areas of your choosing and they provide you with a certain number of expert tweets during the day. Links and/or advice.

A system like that would work either by charging a flat fee (e.g. $10 for 3 experts) or letting each expert define his or her own value and seeing what the market would bear. “Expert” itself would be defined fairly loosely, from a marketing “expert” like that Tangerine Toad guy to an expert bridge player to an expert in knitting or embroidery. In the latter, “how much can I charge” system, anyone would be able to be an expert, so long as others were willing to pay to for it. Factor in the “free-conomy” theory, and you could start giving your wisdom for free until such time as people are willing to pay for it.

And then, finally, there’s the distinct possibility that both systems could exist concurrently- that Twitter will evolve into a two-headed beast with both peer (conversaton) and expert areas.

We’ll just have to wait and see how it all play out.

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