I got an interesting email from Dom Sagolla Friday after my post appeared on this blog. Dom is one of the co-creators of Twitter. I haven't called him yet, though I plan to. His email, and my response, are below.
As one of the co-creators of Twitter (and newly published author of "140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form"), I enjoyed your measured commentary. In the past 3.5 years since we built version 1, I've read many a similar rant but yours was more thoughtful than most.
I believe the value of Twitter shows itself over time, coming and going in a cycle:
Twitter is what you make of it. You don't have to use it like everyone else to find value in it. If you want to post once a month, that's fine. Once a year, that's fine. Not post at all, not follow, only search, that is totally fine and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
That's just your style, and everyone is unique. One question, though: how exactly do you define "value" here? Part Two of "140 Characters" tries to define value in terms of voice, reach, links, and words. I'd enjoy a discussion with you about the nature of value in social media and specifically Twitter.
Thanks for writing,
I truly appreciate your response. (Oh, and I certainly appreciate "measured commentary" to "rant.")
But regarding what you wrote, I agree that I could have turned Twitter into whatever it is I wanted. I guess I have been applying the instant, 24/7 nature of my job to my Tweets, and perhaps that wasn't the best way to go. The pressure to respond and react to EVERYTHING was likely self-imposed, but it was very real for me. And very frustrating. Maybe it was merely a timing thing, and when I find myself with more time, I would have more flexibility to post? I don't know. I'm sure I'll return and give it another go.
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Meantime, you asked about "value." I work at a business network where we're so darned focused on the bottom line. I don't disagree with you that Twitter has incredible reach, heavy traffic, lots of users, endless links and topics. I suppose there's value there. Maybe a more robust search function that classifies topics, voices, links, etc. would make it more useful for some of us. I don't know. Still, I was talking more of a "financial" value. Where's the money? I see the company burning through venture capital, attracting investors almost as quickly as new users. But I don't see a revenue stream, or even the potential for one. (That was my "eyeball valuation" thingy I was referring to.)
I would enjoy keeping in contact and I glad you took the time to write.
Have a nice weekend.
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