UPDATED 13:16 EDT / JUNE 04 2009

What Is Twitter – A Platform for Broadcast or for Conversation – A Twitter Conversation on Facebook

image {Update: I’m including a link to a Time report on this – How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live by Steven Johnson.  I like the Angle from Steven.   Average people (the typical consumer – the mainstream user) want to know what’s the deal with Twitter.  Steven’s story helps as well as my “inside baseball post below.  Enjoy}

What is Twitter? That’s the $50 million dollar question on everyone’s mind. I and we at SA have an opinion on that – just follow our posts.

Is Twitter a platform for broadcasting or for conversation?

Here is something worth talking about and it started with John Hagel posting an interesting link on Facebook. This caught my attention, and then some really smart friends started chiming in (Matt Weeks, Mark Turrell, and Taylor Davidson).  What’s ironic is that this conversation is happening on Facebook.

I am reposting here on SiliconAngle because it’s relevant to the group conversation (not sure the copyright implications of this -we’ll see). More important I think that we need to amply this conversation. Why?  Because people are trying to figure out twitter both as users and developers.

So here is the comment thread from Facebook.

John Hagel posts on Facebook

Lots of tweeting and blogging about a recent HBR Twitter study – what do you think? Is it a platform for broadcast or conversation?

From the blog Broadstuff a post titled: HBR-Twitter-study.html”>Things that make you go “hmmmm” – HBR Twitter study – broadstuff

We found that an average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman. Similarly, an average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than a woman. Finally, an average man is 40% more likely to be followed by another man than by a woman. …

Here are the comments from Facebook…


What do you think?  Is Twitter a platform for broadcast or conversation.  Here is the thread from my Facebook peers.

Mark Turrell writes:

Most of the data / research on social networking is daft – making sweeping statements on behavior for a technology that barely existed 3 years ago. Do you think that the behaviors will change again in 3 year? Do people really have the memory of a goldfish??

John Furrier writes:

No brainer = broadcast: the conversion of a vibrant social graph is the conversations and they happen at many place online and offline..best part about it – the users decide what’s best…

Taylor Davidson writes:


It’s a platform that we can choose to use however we see fit for different groups, interactions and instances.

Matt Weeks writes:

meh. twitter is an evolution of instant messaging. Which is en evolution of pagers or email, depending on your perspective.The larger questions are around how consumers should and will hijack the technology to bend it to their will, and re-invent it to improve their experiences, social lives, conveniences and sense of connection/belonging. The “… Read More business” people are silly to presume they /we are “driving” any of this. Enabling, maybe. We are going along for the ride, and the cleverest among us are finding a way to get “in front” of it in a way that allows us to add value and make things easier to do. In three years there will undoubtedly be “grandchild of twitter” and the like. I expect it will be around intelligent sorting and routing, as well as voice/mobile, locational and visual channels/modes (as well as commerce vs. social) so that people can pick the blend that suits them in the moment, and be able to control their experience in a drop-dead simple manner.

Sorry for the long post.

John Furrier writes:

Matt that was an epic comment – I agree the signaling will create a new network ontop of the network (for betterment of society we hope). Right now the re-inventing going on is mainly by developers and spammers only. Users are trying to understand the benefits. Golden opportunity for entrepreneurs.

It is my view that data is the new development kit.

What is your opinion?  Is Twitter a platform for broadcast or conversation?

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