Sorry but Twitter is not in troubleTweet
Now I love the industry that I am a part of. Its fast moving, dynamic, controversial and innovative. But every now and then, a comment here or there irritates me. And a recent Businessweek article by Ben Kanz (an insightful blogger by the way) hinting at an impending doom for Twitter does just that. Here are the two reasons why.
Sure the twitter business model is flawed or more accurately non existent. But that doesn't mean that one can't be created around it. A business model that's advertising or even subscription driven through value added services. Many a similar business have been able to provide meaningful value added services for which customers open their wallets. The article while thoughtful, fall shorts in that it assumes that Twitter must make a business out of its current feature set without evolving its features or its business model.
Secondly, the article highlights some interesting academic research but then off handily brushes them aside as theories. The smartest folks in Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue know not to scoff at academia. Please don't do that. Not only do you do a disservice to those amazing researchers, but you also irritate the reader who's just finished reading about those theories. In actuality, talking about Metcalf, Zipf and Dunbar are completely appropriate and insightful. And yes, while they do serve to complicate an analysis of Twitter, they don't undermine the value of the service. In fact, the same analysis can and should be applied to YouTube as well.
Still the article is worth reading as it does go onto analyze potential business models albeit with a negative bent. What it ignores though is how information moves on a service like twitter and how it amplifies influence. At Avenue A | Razorfish, we're experimenting with twitter as a communication tool inside the firewall - for leaders to communicate with the rank and file. And the experiment is working. Will we be willing to pay for a corporate license of some kind in the future? Probably. And that could be just one of the revenue driving value added services that a Twitter could provide.
Follow me on Twitter (@shivsingh) for more insights on digital strategy and social media.