Time Sees Tweetness in Twitter

June 5, 2009

Fresh from dumping the AOL-batross, Time Magazine’s editors have developed a Tweet tooth. Twitter is useful and it warrants a round up of buzzwords. How does “ambient awareness” grab you? Maybe “Twittersphere”? You can read the beatific write up “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live” here. Steven Johnson finds utility in the service that is getting close to three year olds and having a revenue model… sort of. Never mind, the point that struck me was:

Injecting Twitter into that conversation fundamentally changed the rules of engagement. It added a second layer of discussion and brought a wider audience into what would have been a private exchange. And it gave the event an afterlife on the Web. Yes, it was built entirely out of 140-character messages, but the sum total of those tweets added up to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles.

I am all for real time messaging, but I come from the intercept and analysis side of the coin. The flow is interesting, but I want to find the diamond amidst the pebbles. I am not too interested in “a suspension bridge made of pebbles”. My engine rev with the notion that for the first time, non governmental entities can monitor, analyze, and extract information from real time flows.

Twitter is important to me because it provides a “nowness” lacking in Web log indexes and traditional Web indexes. I love Bing, Google and Yahoo, but at this time, the notion of real time gains extra dimensions of usefulness for quite different reasons that juice Time’s editors and Mr. Johnson.

With Twitter now quite obvious, why didn’t the managers of Time Magazine snag Twitter or create a Twitter like service? It is easier to write about three year old services than recognize their potential I opine. So much for Time’s ambient awareness of online.

Stephen Arnold, June 5, 2009


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