There seems to be a surge of Twitter buzz once again and I think it’s warranted. I’ve liked Twitter for a while as I indicated in a previous post here. I think Twitter is quite a bit more important than I originally thought, and a lot of other people seem to agree. In a recent post about Twitter, Mark Suster makes some great points about the true value of Twitter. To me, Twitter 1.0 was about building a following and creating a brand. The more people that followed you, and in particular if you were following more than 50% less than that, you are an influence. Many successful companies have grown out of this model; early success of social influence scores like @klout are examples. Well I certainly think this is an important aspect of Twitter, and will continue to be, it’s not the only one, and probably isn’t nearly as important.
I think Twitter is so special because it’s real-time window into humanity. Every single detail of our lives happens on Twitter. I somewhat equate it to the ping pong ball experiment representing a nuclear reaction, which I’ve posted about here before. I think Twitter is a nuclear reaction that keeps occurring. In a nuclear reaction, not every atom needs to be hit individually to cause a chain reaction, at some point, when critical mass is achieved, all the atoms just pop at the same moment. I visualize Twitter like that. There are enough moments worldwide being represented on Twitter, which at any given time every possible human moment is occurring there. Does that even make sense? I’m struggling to explain it, but I think what I’m trying to say is that the stream of data coming out of Twitter has reached, or is very near, critical mass. So literally everything any human being could want to know is there. Thinking about Twitter this way opens doors to a billion new ideas, and there is no shortage of companies trying to capitalize on this. Incidentally, I think Apple has once again made a bet on where the puck is going with their choice to integrate with Twitter in iOS 5 vs. other social platforms.
Twitter is just going a totally different direction than everyone else, but it’s almost not by plan or by control. In some ways it’s out of control. I think Twitter is almost like open source, what will people do with it.
So Twitter 1.0, about building brand, finding influencers and becoming influential; Twitter 2.0, about finding the perfect piece of information or slice of life for each moment of our life. You are looking for this right now, chances are it’s somewhere on Twitter. The key is, sifting, sorting, finding, and acting… in real-time. Doing this could actually be the biggest technical challenge anyone or any company has ever endeavored in history. It’s so cool to watch.