While the Twitter keynote had SXSW attendees lining up an hour beforehand, with many being turned away from an auditorium fitting thousands, and volunteers flagging every last empty seat for a willing occupant, it wasn’t the festival highlight many had hoped. An hour-long vague and high-level conversation between Twitter CEO Evan Williams and Havas Media Lab director Umair Haque had listeners yawning, turning to their phones to complain on Twitter, and outright leaving. As I write — three-quarters of the way through the session — I’m surrounded by vacated seats.
For users, Williams said, “Discovery is one of the hardest challenges — it’s putting these things in context where you’re already reading them.” And for publishers, @Anywhere will “give you a connection back to users that you didn’t necessarily have before, and keep them coming back.”
The product has no launch date, but it does have launch partners: Amazon, AdAge, Bing, Citysearch, Digg, eBay, The Huffington Post, Meebo, MSNBC.com, The New York Times, Salesforce.com, Yahoo and YouTube. Twitter’s Biz Stone writes in a blog post released during the presentation:
“Imagine being able to follow a New York Times journalist directly from her byline, tweet about a video without leaving YouTube, and discover new Twitter accounts while visiting the Yahoo! home page—and that’s just the beginning.”
However, the world Stone describes that doesn’t sound that futuristic; you can already do many such things through integrations made by sites themselves or with the help of products like Tweetmeme.
I don’t think Twitter lost any users today, but it might have burst a few admirers’ bubblicious ideas of the company.
For the GigaOM network’s complete SXSW coverage, check out this round-up.