Wednesday, June 24, 2009


A couple years ago, I started hearing all the tech podcasters talking about the newest fad, Twitter. Described as "micro-blogging", well you know what Twitter is. A way to syndicate a quick thought or your location to people who are interested stalking you.

Twitter grew, and grew, and with the rise in popularity came numerous outages in the service (I suppose it's hard to afford the infrastructure for ever-increasing volume when the company doesn't really have a way of generating money). But it just got more popular.

The tech podcasters had a good prediction, though. Once a celebrity (Britney was the oft-cited example) figured out how easily they could easily leverage the app as a way to reach their fan base, Twitter would explode.

And it has. Britney was perhaps one of the first, biggest stars to join (although it's believed that it's her PR people actually "tweeting"... probably because of the lack of grammar and spelling mistakes). Ashton Kutcher got in early. It was one of the many Web 2.0 tools employed effectively by the Obama campaign. Shaq started using it to give away tickets before games. Of course, the adoption of Twitter as a marketing platform by celebrities hasn't come without it's flops and moments of humor.

Then a few months ago I saw Jimmy Fallon using Twitter as a way to let fans send questions for his guests on his show. A month later I saw SportsCenter posting athletes' tweets. Pokerroad has teamed with Twitter to provide up to the minute updates during the WSOP. It's no longer a geek buzzword, it's everywhere now.

And there have been numerous rumors of tech giants in talks to buy Twitter - even though Twitter still has no way of making money!

I personally have no problem if people like to use Twitter to stay in touch with friends, follow people of interest, etc. To each his own. I think my attitude towards it kind of falls in line with this Conan bit, though:

But then, just when I feel somewhat justified for believing Twitter is a little silly, it becomes one of the only methods for getting on-the-scene news out to the world from the riots in Iran. The credibility of Twitter-based news can always be questioned, but it may be the best metaphor for the shift in "breaking news" journalism. The average citizen with a camera phone and Twitter now dictate the stories for journalists to run down.

And it's no different at TLATL. Instead of Coovo telling me what to write, me telling Ryan what to write, and Ryan telling Coovo what to write, we will be following the crowd. And what better way to dive right in than to head to Iran, meld in with the crowd, and work as undercover journalists. And you can follow it all on our Twitter feed! Hope to hear from you all soon.


Coovo said...

Nice Conan bit Roller. Or should I say "Way to post the CoCo RoRo!"

Don't you think this Blog-twitter-facebook phenomenon has some potential drawbacks. I don't want to be Debbie Downer on this whole thing but access to the world's ear one everyone's fingertips seems scary. Of course this is coming from someone whose first point of reference is wikipedia.

News agents and tv outlets have become even more annoying in their attempts to keep up with this changing media. I watched Anderson Cooper a while back and he's like, "we're blogging throughout the whole show on and we're now on facebook."

Dude, I'm watching you on Tv, just tell me what you were going to blog.

Ryan said...

Nice posterton Rollerton. Yeah, I can't personally see the whole Twitter value, but i do see stuff like you pointed out with the news, etc. That could be cool, there could be lots of "social" effects even after people calm down and stop tweeting that they're doind laundry now.

It could also be tied into a google app to further help drive their live advertisement pushes.

Have you guys been watching Conan on his new show at all? I used to watch him all the time late show but i haven' seen him since he took over Jay's spot.

Roller said...

Coov, I agree with you that it's like information overload. I often wonder if it's as much that we're generating ADD, rather than just feeding it. You can't listen to any news in any format without them pimping the 3 other ways to follow them...

But, all content providers need money, and they get money by advertising (or in some cases by charging for premium content). A new way to deliver content means a new way to make $$, and they have to follow that path. Especially if the old way (print, TV) is declining.

Rye, I look at Twitter's business model issue (i.e. their service is free) the same way I look at Skype. It's a cool service with a huge audience. But the audience isn't huge because there's something inherently unique or special about Twitter/Skype. It wouldn't be hard for another company to clone those apps. They got big because they're free and one of the first to fill a new niche.

Now eventually Skype's audience got so big that e-Bay thought it was worth $1 billion or something. And basically got no value out of it and ended up selling Skype for a lot less back to the original owners (I think)...

What would happen if Google (or pick your company) bought Twitter and started injecting ads into the feeds? Maybe that could still work, but maybe people hate the ads and jump on a clone. Just ask Friendster and Orkut and MySpace how fickle the kids are.

I have seen a couple of Conan's shows on hulu. He brought Andy Richter back! You can view his whole show or just clips. Here's another TwitterTracker one.

Conan isn't as good as Colbert, but I like his show more than Stewart, and Letterman, and 1000 times more than Leno.

Coovo said...

I'm a huge fan of Conan. HUGE! But I'm not used to watching the 10:30 slot and thus haven't caught much of his show.

When they first announced him succeeding Leno, I was a little worried. A lot of his humor at 11:30 probably would be iffy for the 10:30 slot. Masturbating Bear? But I did hear Triumph is still on, which is great.

I wonder if Triumph is on Twitter?