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May 18, 2008

Long on Twitter: It's Their Unique Space on the Internet

  Twitter 6x6 
  Originally uploaded by Steve Woolf.

From my Exeter trip on Wed., where I found wifi at the train station that let me access a few sites for free, the BBC had a succinct article on the unique space that Twitter fills:

I've called it microblogging or short status messages to friends and family unfamiliar with Twitter but the weak description doesn't do it justice.

I found myself using Twitter as a starting point for my news, in addition to my iGoogle homepage. In fact, I noticed a fundamental shift in my reading habits as Twitter has increased it share in my reading and online activity use. When I have a second of free wifi on my smartphone (see my last post about how I'm using my mobile as a wifi device here in the UK) and only a site or two to scan, I'm now reading Twitter because I get a good mix of news/updates from those I follow and it's always current (as someone on Techmeme pointed out, Twitter beat the USGS in announcing the devastating China earthquake).

''But as I sit here writing this I feel connected to a community of people, feel that we share a space that none of the social network sites can conjure up, a space that is both here and not here, somewhere between offline and online.''

The following & followers feature on Twitter is easy to describe but the benefit or value of this feature is quite difficult to express to non-Twitter users. There is connection to these people in your Twitter community that I don't have from other social or communication platforms because my Twitter community isn't composed of people who are friends in the traditional sense of the word, which is how I've been using Facebook (meaning I don't accept just casual  acquaintances or one-time meets offline as a Robert Scoble or Jason Calacanis does).

So it means that Twitter, and I'm sure this was an accidental innovation-- the way that most disruptive technologies or innovations occur-- is a unique platform/service in my online presences. Fred and Brad at Union Square Ventures were smart to invest because they understood this unique space that Twitter fills, even if 'monetization' isn't yet clearly defined. Since you get addicted to Twitter for both personal and professional reasons around staying connected to your friends and community (whether social, tech, or business), I'm not worried about monetization right now and am long on Twitter.


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