In a recent (and very entertaining) interview with Stephen Colbert, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, says that Twitter is focused on building “value”. He said that Twitter will be focusing on extending its real-time communication network worldwide and adding more features to its platform. Biz stated that Twitter will be experimenting with a revenue model by the end of the year. He compared Twitter’s business maturity with that of the Google. The big difference that I see between Google and Twitter is that one can argue that the Twitter community is the vast majority of Twitter’s intrinsic value. For instance, more than 70% of the tweets come from a third-party application that leverages Twitter’s APIs. Google, on the other hand, did not have this reliance on an outside development community. One can also argue that this development community was the key driver of growth for Twitter. As one saw with the recent Facebook betrayal of their development community, trust is hard to win back. Facebook’s hyper-growth was a direct result for them opening their platform to a development community in May 2007.
Although, I still have a hard time truly understanding “Tweeting”, especially in the b-to-b sphere, I agree with their approach (since I can think of no others). The users of social media are a fickle bunch and introducing the monies is the beginning of the end of <insert any Web 2.0 product here> to them — “The man just took over…this shit is toxic.” Wait till the Google buys them out…
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