“Twitter could be the next biggest connective development for humans, bigger than TV.”
That is what someone who has been working with the development of Twitter told the audience at a legal technology conference I was at in NYC a few months ago.
Here is the rationale. Think of Twitter as an army of millions of mobile reporters. People tweet all over the world. People tweet in war zones, at major events, but more importantly they tweet where an event happens and there are no news reporters available, yet. They are the first person on the scene accounts.
The key to this whole development is the open API which allows for applications to be created by anyone so that Tweets can be gathered, processed and understood in mass.
News companies are major adopters of reading Tweets. In fact, there is an application that categories Tweets coming from different parts of the world, or state, or topic area. They search on key words like “Middle East” or “Bomb” or “Providence”… whatever you can imagine. They have huge digital boards, and people can monitor all the activity of the tweets that come in, and see what those army of millions of mobile reporters are saying. To make this all better… People can also send pictures, and I see video is not too far behind. So think about a breakout of a mob in Southie… people would Tweet on that and send pictures far before some news crew could get there. It is like news immediately, even more immediate that what we have traditionally thought of as immediate.
The big part that people miss is the search function. Go to http://search.twitter.com from that site you can search on anything you like. Look for a restaurant in your area that you wonder if is any good. People probably have tweeted about it. Marketing companies are finally seeing this as a way to find out what people think about good or services in real time.
When you tweet, you are actually tweeting to the whole world, so ask a question, and you are likely to get an answer. The bigger following you have the better the response. When I was in NYC I asked about a restaurant… I said, “What do people think of 5 Napkin Burger”? And via my immediate responses, I got a good sense that the place is damn solid.
So from my vantage point, it is a cool app, in its infancy. There is way more to it that some guy saying, “I just ate a whole cherry pie.” Seriously, it will make waves for a reason, and will continue to do so.