Saturday, October 18, 2008

Twitter the railroad tracks of the 21st century

I just posted this (originally as a comment on Fred Wilson's blog)in answer to yet another call from people asking how Twitter will monetize? Amazingly, people STILL just don't get it.

What might be stupid is the question, since most who ask it have no vested interest in Twitter financially. I have blogged over 15 different methods Twitter can use to monetize. I suggested yet another one in an email to Jack Dorsey this past week. Twitter's ultimate value is in its network, and the ubiquity of it all (both users as well as different plumbing such as email/sms/IM etc).

Try this... I just now discovered that I will be moving to Phoenix in a few months from NYC. Using the Twitter network and one of their API partner's products I was able to build my own little social network on the fly (Link will show you everyone Tweeting from within 20 miles of Phoenix) TwitterLocal .

Now tell me, where else can you build a social network on the fly? As GPS enabled smartphones become even more prevalent, this will increase Twitter's value as the underlying network exponentially. And it's not even just about geographic. Using Twitter one can build a network around anyone, anything, any place (look at Twitter's election board as an example, or Stocktwits as another).

People should start looking at Twitter for what it is... Twitter is the railroad tracks (railroad infrastructure) of the 21st century. How much is that worth? What do you think Twitter is? If you agree, please consider Digging this post

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Ryan said...

Great post Andrew! I agree those who don't see twitter as a huge cash cow are ridiculous.

Whats taking you to Phoenix?

Engago Team said...

Railroads went bankrupt at the end of 19th century.
Maybe Twitter too?

Tim Ngwena said...

Indeed it has the potential to be monetized, the problem is which aspect to monetize and how it will affect its growth.

It's almost like Facebook turning round tomorrow and saying your going to have to pay for specific features while they've been free all this time.

Unlike Facebook twitter has in short 4 uses through 1 feature; Daily chit chatter, conversations, information, news sharing. Difficult to single out a specific use.

The best way to monetize it is through the API which accounts for more traffic than website hits to their server.

One thing Twitter does have is the advantage of monetizing itself before it has a user base anywhere near the size of Facebook.