Social Networking was well represented at the World Innovation Forum including discussion of Web 2.0 from former Amazon Chief Scientist Andreas Weigend, technology venture capitalist Brian Shawn Cohen and Twitter co-founder @Biz Stone. At events, I use Twitter for taking notes (I’ll quote a few in this post).
How do we innovate?
There are many ways that companies can innovate including internal development, crowdsourcing, and through acquisition. Twitter has done all of these. Twitter started as a very simple tool – broadcasting 140-character messages sent via SMS (text) or web for the world to see. One of the most innovative things that Twitter did was not limit how users used the tool. Several features created by users, such as hashtags and retweets, were eventually adopted by Twitter and built into the system.
Twitter has acquired a number of large pieces of the partner ecosystem including search (Summize) and an iPhone application (Tweetie). They have also followed/copied ideas from other companies such as Lists (as seen on TweetDeck and Seesmic) and location/geo (many tools such as FourSquare and Gowalla). I have wondered if we can really call Twitter innovative since so much of the improvements have come from outside. When you consider that Twitter is a very young company (3 years) with a small staff, I think it is innovative that they have used all means possible to grow at such a rapid pace. The community may be a little disgruntled form time-to-time, but that is even happening with Facebook and Apple.
5:38 PM Jun 8th via TweetDeck
People get all wide-eyed when you hear of the millions of people using the service who are sending over 65 millions tweets a day. Twitter allows for connection of people. Case in point of translating online to in-person: click on the tab of “Blogger Photos” at the top of my blog page. Another example – I posted this question online at the beginning of Biz’s interview.
5:32 PM Jun 8th via TweetDeck
When we reached the Q&A, I ran down and asked Biz the question about analytics in person and got the answer:
Stone: We will provide a metric dashboard for twitter soon.#WIF10
This was the second year that the World Innovation Forum had a Bloggers Hub and there was a significant difference in the Twitter experience. Last year only about half of the bloggers attending were active Twitter users, yet the conference trended worldwide twice thanks to lots of interaction from people around the world watching the stream. This year not only were all of the bloggers on Twitter, but there was a lot of other very good Twitter content from the paying audience (which had doubled to 900 people). There were over 3500 Tweets sent (you can see them all & download them from Twapperkeeper), yet the conference did not even trend locally. Did Twitter downtime affect this – it was flakier this year than last, did the overload from the new iPhone launch affect the stability for the whole week? Maybe it was just a mixture of other news and people being very busy (hopefully, with the economy picking up). Sports, entertainment and news may dominate the trending topics of Twitter, but it is without a doubt that there are a lot of innovative communication going through Twitter’s channel.