CNN Brings Twitter Mainstream

Captive Forecasts Twitter 911

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You might say we’ve developed a bit of a fascination with Twitter, what with all the coverage and launching our own Twitter people directory, Twellow. Now that even CNN’s talking about Twitter, we’re reminded we were once fascinated by another upstart before it went mainstream: Google.

Like Google in 2001 (or MySpace in 2004 and YouTube in 2005), one has to wonder what percentage of the CNN audience has ever actually heard of Twitter. It’s existence before an American graduate student sounded alarms about his arrest in Egypt via tweet was limited to a bubble of a few hundred thousand early adopters who kept crashing the thing.

Good thing for James Karl Buck Twitter wasn’t flying the Fail Whale that day. With some funding, some scaling—both of which have happened or are happening—and eventually some monetization, we’ll likely look back at Twitter’s early growing pains with nostalgic fondness; like the Slinky, very cool but didn’t always work.

Forecasts Twitter 911

That reputation brought eventual death speculation by mid-June as developers and users alike bailed on their drunken uncle of an app—though beloved by all, Twitter couldn’t be counted on. And then, Twitter magic, the eureka, the a-ha moments as Summize, Twellow, more recently Twitscoop, and other applications appeared to really capitalize on Twitter’s inherent but elusive utility. In line with that was some funding (thank you very much, says founder Biz Stone) which should help with scaling and whaling.

More importantly, the users started coming back, and within a fortnight Twitter recovered from walking dead status to look surprisingly spry—springy, even. For his next trick, Biz Stone is going to have to tell us how he plans to monetize in the US, especially after promising his US-based users there would be no ads on Twitter. Once he figures out the monetization strategy (it’s not always so easy, ask YouTube), Stone could press the same memetic spirit that drove Google skyward. 

There are lots of options: the Facebook route, which is in effect reneging on Stone’s promise to US users; or the YouTube route—sponsored official Twitter channels. Twitter just bought search engine Summize, so maybe that’s a clue to what Stone plans to do. Instead of monetizing tweets, Twitter will monetize peripheral applications like Summize. Think of Twitter like a portal, then, or maybe like a magnet to which other services attach.

The aforementioned graduate student, once his translator was let out of prison, says he wants to work with Twitter to develop a global network helpline for travelers who find themselves in trouble. Perhaps even that has value. Could you imagine it? "This Emergency Tweet is brought to you by Monopoly’s Get Out of Jail Free campaign."

Ahem. There are probably some private commercial applications, too.  The sky’s the limit, so long as you’ve got something better than birds to fly the whale.



CNN Brings Twitter Mainstream
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  • http://www.eporia.com/ Website Design Seattle Washington

    Twitter is already flowing into the mainstream as a multipurpose communication tool. Examples include Zappos.com and H&R Block using Twitter as a customer service tool and ecommerce sites such as Amazaon.com and Woot using Twitter to promote sales and special offers. Over the next year Twitter will more than likely be a household name – and it will be BIG. If you’re not already Twittering, give it some serious thought.

  • http://www.eporia.com/ Web Site Design & Development

    It’s amazing to see how rapidly Twitter is moving into the mainstream and how it’s being used by companies from Amazon to Zappos.com for everything from sales promotions to customer service. Twitter and similar microblogging applications are not a power to underestimate, and will play a huge role in how we do things online in the near future.

  • http://www.digitaleye.com <a href="http://www.digitaleye.com">Web Site Design Wilmingt

    Tools like Twitter will continue to capture attention as they develop features and ensure uptime. As a communication tool that’s mobile and immediate it’s great. As yet another way to market, the creative element will show more important then the tool itself. Competition will make things mildly interesting too – check out Plurk.com.

  • Guest

    does this affect baby booners socai; secuty

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