This guest post comes from Stephen Saber, CEO of the CrossTech Group (my parent company and business partner).
Twitter â€“ is it the Future or is it a Predictor of the Future?
Many people have asked in the past six months, is Twitter real and permanent. Does it have staying power? Can it really change how people communicate?
At several recent conferences, this debate has become more and more real. At one â€“ during analyst roundtable keynote at the Gilbane Conference in Boston, the conversation broke down to a conversation about the usefulness of Twitter where one of analysts emphatically referred to it as nothing more than a passing â€œfadâ€. At another, a panel of â€œmillennialâ€ described how they get information and the fact that they see all their â€œbreaking newsâ€ on Twitter before it ever hits other media streams.
I postulate that he problem that people have with Twitter is that they are looking at it as if it is the final product of the communications revolution that it has started. Instead, let me suggest that you think of it as the AOL of its era. When AOL launched, it was very much a tool for social purposes that had a lot of features and functionality that could be repurposed for successful business uses. These days, AOL is all but non-existent in the realm of internet powerhouses, yet much of what was embedded in that application lives on today in many of the tools that we all rely on every day.
To that end, Twitter is the same as AOL. It is, for all intents and purposes, version 0.2 of a new set of tools that will change a communications paradigm. What it represents is a great, simple tool, for people to send out quick, short ideas and messages to people who care to hear what they are saying. For instance, think about a group of people that have all of chosen to belong to a certain group because they care what the others are saying. Imagine this being a twitter group where, instead of emails, these were small twitter broadcasts – â€œtweetsâ€ – that hit this group and were responded to within this group. In fact, it would be quicker than email, more efficient, and easier to browse and read. Now extend that to other groups of people that you are affiliated with where you feel the same sense of interest in sharing ideas. All of a sudden, the â€œTwitter modelâ€ could have profound impact on the way that these groups share ideas.
I know that this is not truly what twitter is today. But the underlying technology, concept, and communications platform and vehicle are that. This is the future and Twitter is showing us how that might look at feel. Will it be called Twitter? Maybeâ€¦ Maybe notâ€¦ We do not call it AOL anymoreâ€¦