Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Real Value of Twitter

After reading and reading again what I wrote about Google's proposal to acquire Twitter, I started thinking, and thinking again. What makes Twitter valuable commercially?

If you had told me people would frantically post and follow short messages 5 years ago, I would have laughed at your face. Yet, here they are, swamped in a frenzy of 140-character texts. But does that make it worth spending millions?

Said post, probably under the influence of bright analysts, claimed an information value for businesses to realign and improve their products and services existed. True but an incomplete judgment, because it misses an important element: Mobile connectivity.

Teens of my generation had one electronic tool: computers or PC's. It was new, it was cool and it let us go to places not seen or heard before (I stopped short of writing where no man had gone before). The promise or prophecy, -correction- dream of Gibson's cyberspace locked us in basements and dark rooms for many an hour. Our biggest concern? Evasion of phone charges due to now-can-be-called ancient modems. But the dream was there. The dream of a cyber experience, let us say, an electronic astral projection in zeros and ones persisted. A place that is anonymous, filled with our other personas, a second life, an electric heaven free from the boundaries and annoyances of the real world, an anarchy of our own. We all know what that dream has turned out to be.

Today's generation has a different toy: mobile or cellular phones. They are not the creatures of dark-lit rooms. They have their backpacks and cell phones and are always on the move. Their dream is different. I do not know what that is but it is not the same with ours. They can type a full article while I am desperately trying to punch a simple SMS with a phone.

I am certain that you must have seen the hidden value of Twitter by now. We are all trying to assess its value using the tool we are most accustomed to: our computers. Give yourself a moment or two and think about Twitter with respect to mobile phones, and see if you can come up with a price.

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8 comments:

History Cellar said...

Although I have over 100 people following me on Twitter, I have no idea what the value is to me in a business sense. I accept the followers because there is no reason not to to my knowledge. As for mobile phones other than personal use.

Archiver said...

It is because you are like me: you are introduced to mobile phones at a late stage in your life to make it a habit. Still, I too can not find a business proposition for Twitter and I suspect the reason is this late introduction to cell phones.

As far as how many people follow how many, I can say this is partly due to:

a) the bloggers' never ending quest to attract more readers,

b) Twitter is somewhat new. Like every new toy, you play with it, try it, etc. Otherwise, I do not think that following more than 10-20 people is humanly possible.

Intelligence said...

I must admit I am semi-addicted to twitter, but like all things it is probably just a phase. Probably within a year the "newness" of twitter will die down. It's happening to a lot of sites: myspace, facebook, ebay. And just think those sites are actually meaningful. I don't know why twitter is so popular. I don't know why I use it even though I could just text...

Archiver said...

Twitter is here to stay, I believe, just because of mobile phones if nothing else. Its use will possibly phase out to a reasonable state where Twitterers will start following a reasonable number, and more importantly for practical things, i.e. not tracking thousands of people they know very little about.

I must also add that many people who are surely brighter than me have tried to make predictions about technology. Most of their analyses did not turn out to be true. So...

Meet Her Here said...

If you are a writer or a business or anyone who needs to promote, you need to be on Twitter. It's not a matter of whether you like it or not. Back in the 80's, when musicians were faced with MTV, they didn't have a choice. It's sort of the same thing with Twitter. If you are savvy about promotion - you don't have a choice. Also, if you don't work your Twitter - you won't get what you need out of it. That means you need to constantly send out follows and reply to followers. You need to build your page.

Archiver said...

Rather than having no choice, I try to look at this way:

For an artist, writer, musician, etc., there is nothing better than engaging your audience/followers in every possible way. Same for a commercial company. They can give quick updates on coming products, promos etc to build loyal customers.

vishal said...

twitter is becoming very addictive these days. I think there may be a twitter syndrome in future for people who tweet too frequently :)

Archiver said...

I have to add it is a very good tool for quick campaigns, on-line gatherings, activities, etc.

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