Ashton Kutcher, the @aplusk of Twitter with almost 3 million followers, spoke today at the Brainstorm Tech conference. He said that he had s…

Ashton Kutcher@Brainstorm
photo: Brad Markel for FORTUNE

Ashton Kutcher, the @aplusk of Twitter with almost 3 million followers, spoke today at the Brainstorm Tech conference. He said that he had some discussions with Twitter about being on the company board, but realized he wanted to stay out of it and neutral. Then later on, he said that something better will come along that will replace Twitter: this is the first micro-blogging platform, and something that improves on Twitter UI, is even more immediate (Ed: read: imprint onto brain synapses directly, maybe), has better search capabilities, syndicated better, and help makes sense of the flow better, will usurp Twitter.

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  1. What would be the “something” that will come along?

    Follow this evolution:

    1. Text tweets.

    2. Voice Tweets.

    3. Followers listen in real time to live voice tweets (Sort of like Twitter Radio). Tweets can be voice actuated, push to talk or open microphone based. Web cam optional.

    4. Live, real time, two-way, “Tweet Talk” between the Followers and the Followed. Text list displays queue of Followers’ user names holding for their respective opportunity to extemporaneously interactively voice tweet (i.e., talk) with the objects of their Tweeting obsession while the rest of the Follower world listens in.

    5. Now apply everything you know about talk radio – but with the usual social networking twist.

    6. Finally, the brain-imprinting thing…

    Post Script:

    If anyone’s interested, I have one possible solution for newspapers to regain market share and build revenues without further alienating their already dwindling subscriber base.


  2. Kieran Hawe Monday, July 27, 2009

    @aplusk on the board of Twitter? When did he become a thought leader…I guess buying into various startups gets you a lot of cred.

  3. Howie Goldfarb Monday, July 27, 2009

    As with all such media with constant updates clutter will eventually engulf things. If I follow 200 people and everyone gives 1 update a day there is NO WAY IN HELL i would have time to read them all. Thus Twitter is cute but definitely not a solution for advertisers.

    For Mobile SMS opt in launch pads are still superior to anything out there.

    and yes something will replace Twitter. And something will replace Facebook. There is zero barriers to entry!

  4. I assume Alexander Graham Bell believed voice was superior to text. If he was right, why are we so enamored with the sms version of the telegraph system in 2009?" I'm surprised that each sentence doesn't end with the word "STOP".

    While technology can instantly convert between voice and text , voice brings more to the human experience than any other communication technology.

    Pure Mobile Social Voice Networks (with emphasis on the voice) is where the future is headed. If Twitter and Facebook don't evolve that way, certainly others will.

    If you think I was joking about a live, talk radio, interactive, style of voice communication for Twitter,think again. Imagine the following ocurring as voice in real time with a voice actuated headset:

    @aplusk* (voice): Damn, I stubbed my toe!

    [@aplusk looking at his voice enabled "followers in queue" list]

    @aplusk (voice): "Jim you ever stubbed your toe?"

    @Jim* (voice): Yeah, it hurts like hell. Put ice on it fast!

    @aplusk (voice): "No can do. I gotta be outa here in 5 minutes."

    Of course, all of @aplusk's followers were also able to listen in to this live unfolding drama. All the regular text stuff can still go on, but it's voice that takes center stage. For those who weren't present, the entire event would be archived as both voice and text for later consumption.

    Think of it as Twitter with the added capabilities of CB Radio, Police Radio and Talk Radio. Think how boring the latter three would be if they were presented only as text.

    As far as monetizing goes, look-up the definitions of GEOvertising and GPSvertising in the Urban Dictionary.
    Spot-on, I'd say!


    *Names for purposes of illustration only. No real people or actual events implied.

  5. Ron Conway made a very interesting observation about Twitter a couple of months back. Check Vator.tv for the Vid.
    He stated that he could see Twitter become a protocol in it's own right; something like a higher level http or POP. That did get me thinking. There may well be a possibility for a distributed many to one messaging service, like Twitter that sits in the open source arena. Users could actually download the server software to heir PCs and a distributed network of servers and clients starts to develop. Twitter may be a poorly constructed commercial proposition, but a very useful simple communications medium. It's not that the idea was new. Even Nokia was touting such messaging systems in 1999. Anyone remember the Nokia Fridge Door messaging idea? Commercialization was the problem for them and subsequent similar ideas. What is new is the willingness to market such a service for free and hope for the best. Classic pre-dot.com 2.0 crash thinking … I wonder what the cost of SMS traffic is to Twitter? $35 million a year? $75? $100? How long do they have? It's been really nice of Twitter and their investors to gift this to the market, and to pay for it. But if they can't get it to pay, the door is open for an OSS type of Twitter, which moves the burden of payment into the wider market.

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