Twitter Responds to 'You're Dead to Me'

Needless to say, my Twitter postis generating lots of reaction, and thanks to all who have taken the time to send me notes that have been, happily, longer than 140 characters.

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.

hi Jim,

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,

@Dom Sagolla

Hey Dom,

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.


Questions? Comments?