35 Comments

Summary:

Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter, today reminds us that it’s Twitter’s birthday. Michael Arrington, too, writes about the third birthday of the service that everyone is tweeting about. It was three years ago that a chance meeting with Noah Glass led me to […]

Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter, today reminds us that it’s Twitter’s birthday. Michael Arrington, too, writes about the third birthday of the service that everyone is tweeting about. It was three years ago that a chance meeting with Noah Glass led me to write about Twitter, aka Twttr.

Since then, the service that’s estimated to be valued at $250 million has received a $500 million dollar buyout offer from Facebook, and when that failed, made Facebook change its game. It has inspired many books, blogs and a slew of startups that are betting their future on Twitter, the platform. In these depressing times, it is one of a handful of consumer web services people want to write about, talk about and actually really use.

What makes Twitter interesting: It is many things to many people. For some it is a microblogging platform. Max Levchin, founder of Slide (and PayPal), compared it to radio — it doesn’t stop and you listen to (read) what you can. To some it is a content discovery platform. In an interview with The Guardian, I labeled it the megaphone for everyone. It’s also the tool that has kept me connected to everyone who reads our blog. So what does Twitter mean to you?

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  1. To me its a great resource for tech related questions and problems. If I run into an asterisk or server problem, I simply ask and usually one of my followers has the answer. Also, as a new business owner it is a great way to communicate with customers, and potential customers.

    Since this is a twitter article, here is my profile!
    http://www.twitter.com/overworkedtech

  2. Jonathan Hutson Saturday, March 21, 2009

    For me, Twitter is a social networking space to connect with other people who care about human rights, global health, and strategic communications. It’s also a place to share breaking news from people making a difference all over the globe. Follow me @jhutsontweet

  3. Upon seeing twttr in the Summer of 2006 following a comment conversation with Biz Stone on Blogger,

    I instantly “this is for everybody”.

    Of course there are detractors, and negative spectrum types who won’t
    embrace what they didn’t discover for themselves.

    But there is a case to made for Twitter having a significant place for everyone
    on Earth.

  4. Hi Om, to me Twitter has been a great tool for connecting with people who I wouldn’t have otherwise met. It expands my world in ways that news-oriented services like Digg and Reddit don’t, by introducing me to new people as we discover one another through our common interests and friends.

    I also think Twitter is a great platform for building all kinds of open and interconnected social applications. One of my new friends and I have been working on one such project, a location-sharing site that we call “tmeet”. It’s online at http://tmeet.me and I’ve posted some more about it on my blog at http://blog.neontology.com/posts/2009/03/21/tmeet.

  5. Someone (I forget who) told me that Twitter + TwitPic had replaced MMS for them, and to a large extent SMS as well – it certainly makes SMS cheaper when one message can blast to all your friends at once.

    I think for me, the genius of Twitter is that it’s a dumb service, like TCP/IP – the intelligence is at the ends with the additional services and the ability to make your own use of it off the API rather than having features as part of the service. This simplicity, to me, is what put it over Dodgeball (even with Google’s backing) and is slowly putting it ahead of Facebook and other more complicated social-networking services.

  6. Twitter is effective due to a couple of reasons: 1. Multiple entry points 2. Single medium (text-only) 3. Low network maintenance unlike other socnets 4. mixes the best of all forms of communications in message propagation.

    Best of all, I think it costs a damn lot less to run (low cash burn) than any other network while generating extremely indexable content and top notch engagement.

    If they play it sane, the money will come to them and they’ll do well and they don’t have to be a Google-killer to do that.

  7. Marshall Kirkpatrick Saturday, March 21, 2009

    New SMS/IM and blogging hybrid with awesome API. It’s changed my life – love it!

  8. Marshall Kirkpatrick Saturday, March 21, 2009

    New SMS/IM and blogging hybrid with awesome API. It’s changed my life – love it!

  9. Twitter appeals to me on many levels. Of course, most of the criticisms are valid to an extent, but to use Om’s radio metaphor, I just don’t listen to the channels that don’t interest me.

    Here’s what Twitter means to me at the moment:

    1. As the founder of a brand-new startup, Twitter gives me a way to connect with a lot of people and build a network quickly. In about three months my partner and I have cultivated over 4,000 followers. Twitter just happens in the course of a normal day—it’s simply another another medium for connection, one that is productive and different from all the others I use. I turn the Twitter radio on and off throughout the day.

    2. My DNA is in market research. So for me, to be able to listen in to conversations about topics of interest and from thousands of people whenever I like is very juicy. Sure, 140 characters is not a lot of content, but directional data from a wide range of people can be mighty powerful. There’s almost always something useful every time I tune in from the wide range of people I follow — from influencers like @timoreilly to regular folks like @napafarmhouse.

    3. Time is of the essence, and I can consume a large volume of Tweets in a few minutes. I can read my own inbox, someone else’s outbox, or follow a group whenever I need input on a topic. It’s easy to cruise, yet I’m no 20-something who grew up on social media.

    4. Perhaps my favorite aspect of Twitter is discovery. Some of the time I’m not doing anything purposeful like driving traffic or looking for input on a specific subject…and there it is…a link to a great article that opens my eyes to something new. For instance, a week ago I discovered this blog by Clay Shirky about the future of print newspapers: http://tinyurl.com/bpxulr. I get one of these at least one a day. Very inspiring!

    Because Twitter is so easy to make fun of, it’s a cinch to completely write off without understanding what it’s all about. Like friendships, yoga, slow cooking, and search engine optimization, you get out of it what you put into it.

    For me, the benefits of Twitter far outweigh the pain, so my consciousness simply tunes out the ‘what I had for lunch’ Tweets. (Woops, I actually Tweeted what I had for breakfast today. D’oh!)

    And to all you Twitter detractors out there, I say: Life is good. Be happy now. Let it go.

  10. OK – it hasn’t (and hopefully never will) changed my life …. but I have found it very useful as a ‘constant research tool’ – I’ve added another monitor to my already overcrowded physical workspace and installed TweetDeck so I can watch a continual flow of tweets from tech insiders (Like Om) and like-minded web developers that are ‘in to’ the same stuff as me. For this reason alone, I think twitter will be part of my professional arsenal for some time – or at least until the next ‘big thing’ comes along :)

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