Twitter “leaks” stir controversy

7/17/2009:

“Big news” in the tech world…

Yesterday, the website Tech Crunch – leaked some “confidential” documents from Twitter – that essentially gave a rough outline of what the mindset and current/future plans are for the “hot” web 2.0 company.

Many supposedly authentic documents were published on the site, giving a so-called “inside view” of what the “in today” site has in store for the next few years (i.e., “we want a billion users” or “the pulse of the earth,” and “what about Google or Facebook,” etc.)

Apparently the documents were “stolen” and Tech Crunch somehow got their hands on them – and like most media outlets, published them while the iron was hot.

But what do social networking sites mean to you?

facebook-twitterI found the article interesting to a degree, to ascertain how other business think in terms of growth, sustainability and so on.

More interesting was the commentary from many of their readers – such as:

  • “Twitter is a tech service for tech savvy people and not one of my “normal” friends are on it or ever will be. Not everybody wants to let people know what they are doing now.”
  • “Twitter’s “engineering/expertise” is laughable and at best covers ground any major social network has conquered and with more users…”
  • “Half of the sh*t the site posts is “stolen” by your definition. When there are pictures of a new device that hasn’t been released to the press, when an MS employee leaks pricing or features, when a Best Buy employee scans a pricing list, when… It’s all “stolen” by your definition.”
  • “Twitter is like Compuserve in 1991: hugely popular, but it will be irrelevant in 5 years. It’s great that they want to be the pulse of the internet, but with open/decentralized microblogging, the pulse of the internet is THE INTERNET. It’s not surprising they are scared of RSS – it’s the most widely deployed open protocol today that is in this vein.”
  • And many many more…

Communication – unbelievably overwhelming in 2009

communication-can-be-overwhelmingLet’s do a brief, loose timeline: Spoken word, Pony Express, Telegram, US Mail, Telephone, Beepers, Email, Cell Phone, now the internet combining it all.

Today – it’s not uncommon for a single person to communicate through: Phone # (Home, work, cell), Text message (cell primarily), Email (work, personal, etc), Social networking (combination of cell, email, Smart PDA “apps” and text) – it truly is an almost overwhelming position to be in (depending on who you are, and how old, etc.)

Now we know that for the majority of individuals – I’d say that the cell phone is pretty much the primary phone these days – since it incorporates so many (if not all) of the above. But the sheer number of options to communicate these days, it’s become a bit of an “epidemic,” no?

So someone like myself (in their 30’s) – has a very wide age range of contacts, and it’s safe to say that in order to “effectively” (I say that 99% loosely) communicate with everyone, you essentially “need” to be on all of the available networks, right?

It’s hard to say whether humans use these services because they have to or because the want to.

Back to Twitter & social networking

I was an original Twitter beta tester when they started – and the functionality was so minimal – I just didn’t see the logic in it. Plus, I had no idea that it would become so popular, so I discounted it.

Same with Facebook – you weren’t sure where it was going, or what real purpose it served (in the very beginning, when it plain sucked.) However, now – I’m seeing some fairly effective ways Facebook is working better every day… (it is fairly effective at replacing emails at times, finding long-lost friends, etc.)

However, over the past couple years, the services have matured – since the founders of each company took a basic, core idea – and “beta tested” it in real life – getting suggestions, following trends and analyzing how their technology was being used in real time… which is cool in it’s own right (we were Guinea pigs..)

Do you think it’s overkill? Impersonal?

impersonal-cell-phoneBack when email was the big boy in town – did you EVER think of emailing your entire address book every 3 minutes to tell the world what song you were listening to? Or that you have the runs? Or that Derek Jeter just foul-tipped a slider on a 3-1 count? I didn’t think so. However, there are many social network users that “Broadcast to the world” their every step, thought, eyelash – it just makes you wonder… when is enough enough, and why are some people so immersed to the point where they spend all day “tweeting?”

What about the 140 Character limit on Twitter? Sure – no love stories can be told, and users just blurt out mundane miscellany about their life. What do people talk about when they see each other? What they tweeted about?

Businesses can benefit, maybe

One thing for sure – the fact that millions of users gravitate towards these cutting-edge technologies certainly raises the eyebrows of business across the globe. They feel that in order to be competitive – that they need to “be where the people are.” Politicians use social networking sites, along with hot dog stores – and of course, even Hoboken411 (TwitterFacebook). On the surface, it “looks” like a good marketing tool (I use it primarily for site updates, or Hoboken tidbits when I’m away from HQ).

But how effective is it to just “have” your updates on these sites? How long do they even stay relevant? If I post “$2 beers!” on Twitter – how long before it’s “off the page” and irrelevant? Some folks have hundreds – if not thousands of people they “follow” – and it becomes literally a full time affair just to digest the information, let alone ACT on it, right? Like knowing every second what is on every TV channel you subscribe to – It almost becomes a “I’m on top” competition – similar to real estate listings on Craigslist!

Then again – the same level effectiveness may apply to any form of marketing. If I have 10,000 subscribers to a monthly email – what kind of return would you expect? Maybe the percentages are similar for these social networking sites…

In the end – it’s the way of the world

It’s very interesting to see, as the world becomes faster, more technical, more “instant” – how similar parallels can be drawn to other “technology leaps.”

Sure you can say this is just like going from mail to phone to email, etc – i.e., “the next step in communication evolution,” right?

One thing is different however, others may say that the myriad of choices are what is making it that much more difficult – and even “less connected.” When the telephone came out – that was IT. No different technology platforms – just a phone and wire. All connected together. Now we have dozens if not hundreds of ways to “reach out and touch someone.” How much can one individual handle? I have some friends that only use text message (i.e., they forgot how to speak “live”) – others just use email – and I forgot instant messenger as well – and facebook, etc – you almost need them all to stay in touch.

Maybe this is the part of human evolution that can make or break us. If we become “capsulized” into miniature nuggets of easily digested (and disposed of) information – perhaps The Matrix was on to something…

Where will communication take us in the future? Will we ever have one centralized way to communicate across each and every known platform? And in a simple and cost-effective way?

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21 Comments on "Twitter “leaks” stir controversy"

NJDevils1087
Member
NJDevils1087
I can deal with the rare instant spam, and the bots that send mentions the second you use a buzz marketing phrase. I really don’t mind that. Twitter is widely adopted enough that it’s certainly garnering status as a “first-responder” messaging service for news, in my opinion. You could say that only power users are benefitting, but that’s not necessarily true. I don’t have a smart phone, (in fact my phone is as old as you could imagine — it’s got infrared as a link option ffs) but at the same time, twitter remains a valuable data source to me. I immediately check the TwitScoop column in TweetDeck when I get to my computer, and if there’s something worth researching further, I do it. I’m not saying patience and due diligence isn’t needed, but BreakingNews and due diligence are mutually exclusive in my view. Breaking needs to be as instant as possible, in concise and brief a format as possible. Twitter achieves this perfectly. For me, I don’t have a problem with simplification. The public wants general news unfortunately, and no matter how much those 1% of us who actually care about world events wish the public would have to read more about what’s going on in our world, people will tune it out anyway. So why not at least inform them that something big is going on and let them react/respond? The only credibility issue I see from twitter is when you have journalists preemptively tweeting “rumor” and “speculation”… Read more »
mooshu
Member
mooshu

Am very selective about who I follow on Twitter. Lately I’ve been bombarded with “vote for me” messages about 3 times a day. Hopefully this won’t last long. I hate when Twitterers post 30 updates about nothing. Social networking can be a whole big pain in the @ss sometimes.

What I love about Twitter however is that I get personal stories in 140 characters or less. Facebook is where I used to get an entire novel about one’s wild belief in Christ. I don’t miss Facebook.

homeworld
Member

Reminds me of this:comment image[quote comment=”204624″]Am very selective about who I follow on Twitter. Lately I’ve been bombarded with “vote for me” messages about 3 times a day. Hopefully this won’t last long. I hate when Twitterers post 30 updates about nothing. Social networking can be a whole big pain in the @ss sometimes.What I love about Twitter however is that I get personal stories in 140 characters or less. Facebook is where I used to get an entire novel about one’s wild belief in Christ. I don’t miss Facebook.[/quote]

mooshu
Member
mooshu

That was very funny. [quote comment=”204631″]Reminds me of this:

[/quote]

NJDevils1087
Member
NJDevils1087

Couldn’t disagree more with the “Twitter is like Compuserve” comment. As a 411 reader mentioned above, Compuserve went away because something better came along.

Twitter has COMPLETELY revolutionized breaking news. People that are on Twitter are instantly aware of everything happening in our world today of significance. Japan Earthquake? It was tweeted about less than 30 seconds after it started. And the best thing is, you have to be short and concise with only 140 characters. On top of that, what can be faster than instant? You tweet, your followers know. If important, it’s retweeted rapidly. Everyone on the service knows within 3-5 minutes. You don’t have to go scrounging around to site after site to get key pieces of data, and more and more information is tweeted by accounts such as @CNNBreakingNews, etc.

Since you can’t get faster than instant, I don’t see Twitter being eliminated by a product improvement. It’s here to stay even if for no other reason than a vital news dispersal tool. Could you imagine the amazingly beneficial ramifications of such an action? With web 2.0 tools we can know users’ current and home locations, and accounts such as @HobokenUrgent or @NYCMetroUrgent could automatically Direct Message users in that area of need-to-know/emergency broadcast system-worthy events.

Gavriel
Member
Gavriel
Agree and disagree Devil. See my viewpoints below. Twitter, for one is not as widely adopted as you might think. And along with “instant” breaking news, you also get “instant” spam. It’s still a giant mess. Furthermore, because Twitter and all the available tools are not in use as far as you think, the effectiveness wears out. Some power users may get benefits, but most aren’t that adept. Who is throttling and verifying the information? You still have to wade through tons of worthless info to get something viable. When you have tons of amateurs in the kitchen, you will eventually end up with slop. Lastly, the obsession with “instant” is lowering the quality of the information the public receives. This has to stop. I can attest that I’m not the only one that’s realizing the very dangerous downside to such social networking mechanisms. It’s watering down the credibility of practically everything simultaneously. Be careful for what you wish for and embrace. Take a look around with some patience and due diligence. You’d be surprised what you discover. [quote comment=”204617″]Couldn’t disagree more with the “Twitter is like Compuserve” comment. As a 411 reader mentioned above, Compuserve went away because something better came along. Twitter has COMPLETELY revolutionized breaking news. People that are on Twitter are instantly aware of everything happening in our world today of significance. Japan Earthquake? It was tweeted about less than 30 seconds after it started. And the best thing is, you have to be short and… Read more »
Margaret
Member

I like keeping in touch with out of state relatives who live in Virginia, and Switzerland.
E-mail is less stressful and less expensive than calling,and I can see pictures of the
beautiful nieces and cousins and nephews. Some live in the Alsace Lorraine Territory of
France and they keep in touch. We all email each other.I have a nice shot of HOBOKEN
Belgium with a relative standing on each side of the sign. COOL….how would I get that on a telephone? Maybe soon? PICPHONES are on the way, I heard….. 😉

jc5201
Member
jc5201

I find it interesting that Twitter was probably geared towards techies originally, but athletes are the group taking it main stream. Sportscenter now covers what athletes are tweeting.

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