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.


Dun said...

Yeap. Like many other forms of "social" media, it is interesting to a certain group that likes spending time behind the screen and typing instead of going out with a friend and talk about that "wow new shoes" or "amazing game".

I remember times when Corel or even Microsoft (with Publisher) were selling some "do it your own" products. The way you can now "make your own website/blog/...". It is interesting indeed how easy it became. Yet I can name you 98% of the people that I know and will never do any of these (make a flyer with Corel or blog with blogger). And I can name 2% that will do at least 30 versions of their blog.

Not because those 98% wouldn't like it or be uncapable of learning it. Simply because they feel much much much better when:

- spending time on a coffee with a friend
- spending time on a couch watching TV
- spending time in a bowling arena
- spending time travelling
- spending time having s _ _ (you know, some even do that instead of spending time typing :-))

It simply gives more pleasure to them.

Toad said...

Exactly Dun. Could not have said it better. Thanks for the input.

toad's sixth reader said...

i'm with dun. being a time-starved dad of three i can't see much time left for twittering.

i already feel guilty about how much time i spend on ad blogs. (scamp's really taken off, hasn't he?)

Mark Baratelli said...

-The thought (about twitter being a way to learn from experts) did not "spawn" from my comment. My comment WAS the thought. It was my thought I had myself that I shared with you and you agreed with: twitter is great as a learning tool if one chooses to use it as such. My thought spawned your post would be more correct, I think.

-Why are you trying to monetize experts when the NYTimes twitters it's links to it's articles for free? That is just one example. I am sure there are more.

-And, for those who feel like they don't have the time to use twitter, here's the way I use it. (This is my thought, not a spawn by the way) It's in my phone in the browser. When I have nothing to do or am bored I check my twitter feed on that phone. When I do, I get links to articles and new bits of interest to me. It's a benefit you can give yourself when you need something to occupy your time. I do not check it on my computer.