Category: Social Media

Twitter logoIt seems that a lot of people ask the question that my boss asked me recently: “What is Twitter’s business model?” It seems for now they don’t have one for public consumption. They pay for their servers with venture capital money which means that somebody with money thinks they can succeed and be profitable. From their own About pages, Twitter says:

“…we are holding off on implementation for now because we don’t want to distract ourselves from the more important work at hand which is to create a compelling service and great user experience for millions of people around the world.

…we are also very much guided by our philosophy of keeping things simple and intuitive so we like to restrain ourselves with regard to features.

We plan to build Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company…”

But for now it’s all free. Below are a list of blog posts about this topic. I read threw these, and they all make some good points.

I have to say from my point of view, Twitter should never charge. They can’t. Once they start charging users people will stop using. I think they know that and that’s why they don’t. Look at Google. I remember in the 90s when Google was this really simple vanilla search engine that was better than Yahoo!, Alta Vista, HotBot and all the others that were popular then. Today, Google’s core is still that awesome plain vanilla search page and it’s still free and ad free. How are they making money? They have learned how to take their core tech and apply it to other areas that big business will pay for (ex: Google Analytics).

If you ask me, Twitter has this same potential. They collect mini conversations and thoughts of millions users. Looking at individual posts, who cares. Stepping back away from the trees to see the forest, you start to see your customers giving their unbiased feedback about your products and services. You find patches of people talking about the new big technology and how they can use it. You see entertainment venues running contests and surveys, thus driving customers to their sites and store fronts to spend money. This information can be melded into real time political polls. The best part is all this information is free. We the users are already funneling it in as I type.

I suspect the venture capitalists see this same potential. My old boss always said, “he who owns the information, drives the business, and makes the money.” At this point Twitter is stock piling that information. If they can now produce or acquire technologies that allow people to mine that information, to look at it in different ways, and to pipe it into their own products and services then they can charge for that. Then they can make money.

What does all this mean for us? Well for now not much. The big concern is if Twitter is truly stable enough to build off of today? Can we depend on it being around 5 years from now. Probably. It has a huge following, it’s simple, and it has money behind it. All aspects that Google had in 90s. For the time being, it’s free. Our only investment into Twitter is any time we put into it. I see it as a free, fast, and popular way for a company to drum up excitement about it’s products and services, its public events and social good deeds. I see it as a way to gather peoples opinions about my company’s goods via mini-surveys. I see it as a means to distribute deals and run contests. That is how I see myself and my company using Twitter today. It will be up to Twitter as to how we can use them tomorrow and at what cost.

Here’s what others are saying about Twitter future revenue stream:

New to Twitter?

Twitter Logo

I use Twitter a lot and have for a while now. I get asked all the time “So what’s this Twitter thing? Why do people find it so interesting?” Over time, I’ve been keeping a text document of the different things I end up telling people in an effort to condense it down to a simple explanation that still gives them enough information to really sink their teeth into Twitter. Here is what I have come up with so far. If you have additional suggestions, I would love to hear about them.

  • It’s like chat, but the entire world sees what you say. Sort of like mini-blogging (messages have a 140 character limit).
  • On, you can set up your cell phone so you can text in a twitter update (I do that).
  • You can reply to somebody’s post by doing the ampersand sign and their handle (like “@molaro that was funny!”).
  • You can send them a direct message which is seen only by you and them by starting with a “d” in front (so like “d @molaro thx for your reply”).
  • For me, the easiest thing is to use the free version of Twitterrific, a Mac only desktop application. Otherwise, if I had to go to the web page I would never update my status.
  • For Windows people, I know that “Spaz” and “Twirl” are good. I think Twirl is better. They are both Adobe AIR apps that allow you to twitter from the desktop. In all these apps, you’ll see the messages sent to you and that you send.
  • You can “follow” other people to see their messages as well. As for following, you get odd people following you. Now a lot of spammers. I usually only follow people I know or people from the area, or people who follow other people in my “cloud” (group of friends).
  • It’s a good way to meet people in my work field. Take a look at Wayne Sutton or Ginny from the Blog. Watch what they do and check out who they follow. That’ll get you going.
  • Other sites, like let you update where you’re at by passing in an address or location name. (there are tons of little sites like these)
  • Lastly, there are “service” twitter accounts. I set one up for my local Adobe Users group ( Those basically just broadcast updates. Ours posts whenever our RSS updates. I have seen weather accounts, traffic accounts, bars, and political candidates.
    • I also follow &STS124 which is the NASA feed to the current space station mission. They tweet live info about the space walks and stuff.
    • On a similar vein, I follow &MarsPhoenix which is info from the Mars rover. Play-by-plays of what it’s doing.
    • @BarackObama will get you updates of what he’s up to
    • @Timer lets you pass in a message and minutes, and then it will send you that message back in those about of minutes (a reminder tool)
    • @MYNC_WX_Durham is durham local weather
    • Follow @Twitter for updates on the system and outage/service notices

Personally, I also follow lots of industry gurus. People’s who’s books I own or Adobe big shots and stuff like that. Also, follow former co-workers. Stuff that’s interesting to me.

So that’s my soapbox on Twitter.

Well, almost famous, and only to a specific community, and … duh! Well, you’ll get the idea.

As many of you know, today is the release of Apple’s iPhone 2.0 as it were. As I write this, I am reading posts from my Twitter buddies who are eagerly standing in line at various Apple stores all around the area waiting to get their hands on this latest model. One of the big deals with the new iPhone is that Apple finally opened up the code to allow outside developers to write their own applications and sell them to iPhone users via the iTunes online store front. This is BIG for Apple and iPhone (and sadly AT&T). Yesterday, many of us discovered that Apple went ahead and opened up the iTunes App Store that has all the cool new applications that you can buy for this phone.

The genius boys over at the Iconfactory already had an incredible little desktop application called Twitterrific that connects to your Twitter account (if you don’t know I’ll have to explain that one in another post) and allows you to send updates. It’s awesome and as far as I know the preferred desktop Twitterrific app for Mac users. Being the bright guys that they are, the Iconfactory team jumped on Apple’s band wagon and made their awesome little program run on the iPhone. A few weeks ago, as they were preparing to launch the software they sent out a tweet asking for people to say something clever on Twitter so they could include it in the screenshot that appears with the product. To skip to the chase here, my tweet made the shot and since my icon is a posterized version of a picture of me, my face is now in the product shot. This is the first shot you see when you go into the app store to purchase and download the app. I have received a slew of Tweets yesterday about it and I’m sort of excited about it. Thx Iconfactory! .

Step 1: Go to Google

Step 2: In the search box enter “Find Chuck Norris”

Step 3: Press the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button

Step 4: Enjoy!