Twitter “leaks” stir controversy
“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?
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
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?
Back 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 (Twitter – Facebook). 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?