It will be a very interesting week in the markets, one in which I head into long some favorite names, but nervous. I will get to a deeper post on the markets later Sunday. I am scouring the web for edges and there are great arguments on both sides. My only gut instinct short-term is the amount of bearishness. It’s out of hand. In the bears favor is the fact that they have been hot.
But first Twitter.
It’s fun to see the converts. My friend The FLY mocked Twitter forever and he now likes it. That COULD change at any moment, but he is my favorite ‘Tell’.
Shaq is using it and he seems to dig it . I love that he uses it because he makes me look like a spelling WHIZ. The Suns have sucked though since he focused on Twittering so maybe he will be shut down :) .
Today Tim O’Reilly had a great post ‘Why I Love Twitter’ and he pretty much nails all the reasons why most that use it, end up loving it.
1. Twitter is simple. Twitter does one small thing, and does it well. Folks like Robert Scoble sing the praises of Friendfeed, which you could think of as twitter++. After all, it’s got comments and aggregation of data from multiple services. But despite its powerful premise, Friendfeed hasn’t dented Twitter’s growth. Personally, I don’t have time to wade through the comments; for me, Twitter is about quick hits, not about extended discussion. And while I love the promise of service aggregation, I tend to think that trying to marry it to commenting obscures its potential. Less is more. New services like peoplebrowsr are reframing service aggregation in a richer way, as a way of learning more about the people you follow, browsing the social graph. (Peoplebrowsr is still in alpha, but I think it has real potential as a social graph explorer, rather than as yet another people feed-reader.)
2. Twitter works like people do. If I’m interested in someone, I don’t have to ask their permission to follow them. I don’t have to ask if they will be my friend: that is something that evolves naturally over time. If you’re a public figure like I am, the metaphor of mutual “friending” is truly broken. I get tens of thousands of friend requests from people I don’t know. Accepting would make it impossible for me to use a social tool to keep in touch with my real friends. Friend groups don’t really help.
Twitter’s brilliant social architecture means that anyone can follow me, and I can follow anyone else (unless they want to keep their updates private.) Gradually, through repeated contact, we become friends. @ replies that can only be seen by people followed by both parties to a conversation create a natural kind of social grouping, as well as social group extensibility, as I gradually get more and more visibility into new people that my friends already know. Meanwhile, truly private direct messages are also supported.
I don’t know who first used the term “ambient intimacy” but it’s a great description of what begins to happen on Twitter. I know not just what people are thinking about or reading, but enough about what they are doing that our relationship deepens, just like real-world friendships. People who follow me on Twitter learn that I’m making jam or pies, or gardening or riding my bike or feeding the horses, things that I’d never (or rarely, since I’m doing it here) share on my blog. I know a lot more about many of my professional contacts that makes them more into friends. And in the case of my family, who keep their updates private and visible only to a limited group of real friends, we can keep in touch in small ways that mean a lot. I get special moments of my wife or daughters’ day that we might not have shared otherwise. It’s truly lovely.
3. Twitter cooperates well with others. Rather than loading itself down with features, it lets others extend its reach. There are dozens of powerful third-party interface programs; there are hundreds of add-on sites and tools. Twitter even lets competitors (like FriendFeed or Facebook) slurp its content into their services. But instead of strengthening them, it seems to strengthen Twitter. It’s the new version of embrace and extend: inject and take over. (Scoble recently noticed that 60%+ of his friends’ updates on Facebook actually came from twitter. And as John Battelle noted in a recent tweet, “I noticed now that my FBook status is updated with Twitter, I get responses in Fbook, but would like to see them here.” It might seem like a strength for Facebook to allow Twitter to update its status feed, but not the other way around, but I think Facebook will one day realize that Twitter has taken them over….)
4. Twitter transcends the web. Like all of the key internet services today, Twitter is equally at home on the mobile phone. Even on the PC, I find myself using a separate client (Twhirl is an Adobe Air program) that provides a rich, alternate interface.
5. Twitter is user-extensible.The @syntax for referring to users, hashtags, and whatever you call the use of $ as a special symbol for reference to financial instruments, were all user-generated innovations that, because of Twitter’s simplicity, allowed for third party services to be layered not just on the API, but on the content.
6. Twitter evolves quickly. Perhaps because its features are so minimal, new user behaviors seem to propagate across Twitter really quickly. It’s a bit like the reason that fruit flies are used for genetic research: the short lifespan compresses the time for mutations to take hold. Perhaps a better analogy would be the speed of cultural evolution among humans compared to biological evolution. The most fascinating evolution happening on Twitter isn’t an evolution of the software, but an evolution in user behavior and in the types of data that are being shared.
I believe the biggest negative of Twitter is the getting started. It’s no fun Twittering in the dark and unknown.
My favorite part of Tim’s post is reason 5 :) . One of the goals of StockTwits is to make sure we recognize new voices and get people followers in a much faster, efficient way than blogging. The more people get recognized for what they are good at, the better the ideas and conversations can become.
As more niches develop, people will get hooked faster as they get recognized in their niches. Once recognized in their niche, they will venture out into the ‘Twittersphere’ with more confidence and we should want that.
I DON’T believe that Twitter is Journalism. You can’t replace the freaking New York Times with Twitter. Yes, the New York Times is busted, but I don’t want my news in 140 characters. I do believe that Twitter is entertaining and can make us all smarter as ideas get exchanged. That’s a fantastic combination for now.