There is no denying that Twitter is sweeping the Internet lately. Everywhere you look you see a tweet here and a tweet there. Tweets are coming in from far and wide and the ability to get connected to those twittering is quite easy. You can get tweets from your friends, tweets from people in your industry, tweets from areas of interest, and in our very high entertainment culture tweets from those that constitute stardom and fandom.
However, like all new ideas and products, Twitter will go through the standard phases of adoption and development. The standard life cycle (and there are variants on the theme out there) are typically Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and then Decline. There is also the Conceive, Design, Realize, and Service phase model, but the previous one is more akin to my upcoming points. For the sake of argument, let us indicate at the time of this writing that Twitter is in the Growth phase. Some actually would emphasize that twitter is already in the decline phase (e.g. if you finally heard about it you are to late and the next idea is about to arrive). I however, disagree in that I don’t think it has gone through its Maturity stage yet (anyone using it can tell that the servers are clearly overloaded and the service has yet to significantly expand its features at this time or found its money maker yet). So in my opinion, it is currently struggling with the overwhelming growth brought upon by its shift out of early adoptations (Introduction). How it deals with its growth will indicate if it even makes it into the Maturity phase. The classic theory of Diffusion of Innovation and the concept of early adopters plays a key role in most if not all technology/culture meshing. In the case of Twitter, this is applicable and we are now out of the early adopting stage and clearly growing.
It is always a good indication of where Web 2.0 technology is on the curve when someone like Wil Wheaton has been actively on it before you. Now for those that only remember Wil Wheaton as that annoying young ensign on Star Trek: TNG, let me bring you up to speed since the 90’s. Wil Wheaton has often been on the forefront on numerous new Web 2.0 initiatives. He was a huge contributor (in content and in awareness) to current technologies such as twitter, blogging, photo sharing, online poker (you tell me that was not a Web 2.o associated event), and new distribution methods for authored content among others. He annotates his own audio books to give you more of a let us expand on this book vs. let me just read the words that are in the book for you (you did know he is now an accomplished writer didn’t you ;-)). He also self promotes and distributes most of his work (like many new upcoming MP3 friendly artists). More specifically to my point, is that in the last five years (or so) I have been able to use Wil Wheaton as a litmus test for how Web 2.0 is evolving and even I couldn’t stand the guy on TNG. I will give him props for either being very lucky, very aware, grandstanding, or just simply just this guy on the web (likely the later). Either way, he has a pretty good track record as an early adopter so far on Web 2.0 and kudos to him for pulling it off.
Let’s be honest tweeting is an expansion on ideas that have been around for decades/centuries (gossip, status update, social expansion, exhibitionism, distribution of information). It is its adaptation of the technology to old ideas that really make tweeting so interesting. I have always said, that accounting has been done more or less the same way forever. It is in essence (IMHO) the tracking of money from one bucket (Revenues) to another (Expenses) in conjunction with the collection of value (Assets) and incurred risk (Liabilities). What has mostly changed over the years is technology’s continued attempts to use accounting and business in general as a pivot/tipping point to the introduction of new ideas fostered around new technical ways of accomplishing things we do on a routine basis. As technologies continue to streamline and expand the business models you can often see the old problems constantly being addressed by new technologies. It is not saying that the technology failed to meet the need or fix the problem, but more that the world has changed around the model and technology is a layer that allows for the integration of that business model into the expanding business landscape (the size and increased complexity of the problem/task). You cannot deny that say Google has expanded the access to information and that the growth in content made available has even challenged Moore’s Law (slight application of his concept in this regard). If you doubt me, think back to what you had to do in a BBS model to access information and the availability of information you had (very localized and the information tended not to virus its way from BBS to BBS).
So it is great in my opinion, to see that Twitter is now expanding itself into other business models (you didn’t think it would just focus on social interactions did you ;-)). I think of the Twitter that we know now as more of a prototype for a new slew of Twitter-style applications in the business world. First build the architecture and then apply it to numerous business models. It is that reselling of its architecture to new innovators that will in my opinion be the much needed income front that Twitter needs to be able to adapt to its growth and move into the Maturity stage. One very interesting announcement as of late is ExecTweets. Very much like LinkedIn became the Facebook of the business world. I believe you will see more and more business applications evolving from this technology. The technology will be integrated with commonly used business applications. It is no surprise that Salesforce (CRM) is integrating Twitter into its product platform and more importantly boosting itself towards the much sought after cloud computing model (another name for the next evolution in computing and the Internet for those not in the tech loop). For those interested in where Twitter is going, I would highly recommend catching up on their blog every so often at http://blog.twitter.com/
As for me, I see corporate tweets (not necessarily using twitter.com but a more private implementation without the security holes) as a huge opportunity to ensure that the members of a growing company or remote company keep informed of their issues and priorities. As a big believer in the concept of daily stand ups, I find the prospect of tweets being limited in their size a very interesting prospect. The basic fundamentals of a standup (what I did, what I am doing, and what problems I am having) can be communicated to a corporate or departmental tweet for all to see and reply with assistance when available. Just like a stand up where you should get it all communicated in under a minute or so, tweets are limited to 140 bytes which keeps the information hopefully concise. However, like all tweets, the degree of frequency and the value of its content must me managed so to not become more noise in an ever increasing overwhelming state of the Internet (e.g. should I be focusing on the web page, the blogs, on the RSS feeds, on the tweets, on the facebook, on LinkedIn, etc).
This is why we are starting to see a real growth in personal and social aggregator apps for Web 2.0. Just like Google and Yahoo became means of expanding our search against a growing flood of content, sites like Digg and Slashdot became the aggregators of web content for its users common interests. Evolving aggregators to meet our data mining needs will always have a home as we continue to expand our means of communication, the level of communication going on, and the content being generated.
Let there be no doubt, at no time in our history have we been talking to each other more than we are now. What is missing is that we are unable to fully listen to everything that is important to us. This is where aggregation and data mining play a huge role in the coming years to help us deal with what is important to us as opposed to where the information is.
My Thoughts Enclosed – Rb