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How do you Twitter: Tim O’Reilly?

Every day for the next week or so I will be interviewing a variety of marketers, advertisers, bloggers, SEO consultants, businesses, artists and Internet gurus on the latest micro blogging sensation to hit the interwebs, Twitter.

Today I’m really excited to have the thoughts of Tim O’Reilly on my blog!  The emerging technologies legend is extremely busy but took the time to share a few thoughts with me about Twitter.

How do you think Twitter has changed the way people interact online?

It has vastly increased the amount of serendipity.  Case in point: I noticed that Scoble was in Barcelona via twitter; connected him with Terry Jones of FluidInfo, who lives there.  Terry is a fascinating technologist looking for venture funding.  Robert did some video interviews, thought it was really cool; Terry got a term sheet the next week.

On a more personal level, I have a kind of “ambient intimacy” (@leisa is responsible for that term) with my family.  I learn small details about the day my wife and kids are having, and am closer than I have been in years (on a day to day basis) with my one brother who tweets regularly.  I learn small details that I’d never think to ask about.

Will we still be tweeting in 5 years?

No.  There will be better tools.

What can a big name brand do to be trusted on Twitter?

Have a person behind it.  ScottMonty of Ford is a good example.  He’s shilling for Ford, but it’s clear that he’s doing it.


Thanks Tim!  I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions.  Some fantastic advice there.

Check out some of the other interviews with a variety of Internet gurus below.  I’ll be uploading some more soon after Christmas.  Thanks to everyone who spared some wisdom for us.  We all appreciate it :)

Comments (13)

  1. Brief but insightful, as any great Twitter conversation should be. Thank you for sharing this.

    I do disagree about Twitter though. Social networks have a life span of (about) six years, so it’ll certainly peak (likely in ’09-10), but I don’t think you’ll see it replaced by something better until a little farther down the road.

  2. Alistair

    24 Dec

    Nice summary. I do, however, think that the question of whether Twitter will be around is a bit imprecise. Twitter the company? No. Twitter the open-asymmetric-follow-paradigm? Definitely.

    Twitter is a goldilocks model for social networks: It’s open enough to rope people in, but short enough to survive spam. It encourages interaction (with the @name) but not conversation (because of limited threading.) And it has just enough stats to make it competitive (follower count) without getting bogged down.

    I think Twitter has paved the way for open analytics, too. The API they make available is in sharp contrast to the walled garden of Facebook, and while this has been instrumental to their success it’s also a great test case for companies who want to gain user traction through marketshare.

    So — Twitter the site might not survive. Twitter the API will.

  3. rosie

    2 Feb

    There is probably a baby boomer genius reading this right now who is saying “I had an idea for a site like Twitter a couple of years ago…now I will introduce it and make it bigger and better


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