In a world with more and more content to chose from, the inevitable result is shorter and shorter attention spans. And so we have gone from reading well reasoned books to reading monthly magazines to daily newspapers to ever-updating online publications. And with the rise of Web 2.0, those online publications have given way to user-generated constantly-evolving content: blogs. And if the blog weren’t immediate enough, we now have something new – the tweet – thanks to an up-and-coming startup called Twitter, which my techies out there have most certainly heard of.
The brilliance of Twitter is that they are part of a new Web 2.0 generation of start-ups that are all about syndication – all about open APIs, open standards, and free-flowing content. Twitter is 1/2 social network, 1/2 bite-sized blogging. But, even more powerfully, I don’t need to log into twitter to update, the way I do with my blog, or even send an email – something else my blog can do. I can text in my tweets. I can IM them. And thanks to open APIs, other start-ups like SpinVox can add-onto the usefulness of Twitter and add the ability to phone-in or use my computer mic and convert my voice tweet to text.
Twitter, from the point of view of social scientists, is going to be one of the most amazing inventions of all time. Questions like “Where were you when JFK was shot?” can now be answered. Again, thanks to the open APIs of Twitter, we can use Twitter search eengines like TerraMinds.com to scour the interwebs for what people everywhere are saying on a particular subject. In the lead-up to CES – the biggest tech conference in the world – Robert Scoble wrote a post suggesting that one way to survive the show was to just not go – and use Twitter as a tool to take the pulse of what is going on at the event at any given moment. As the user base of Twitter grows, social scientists will be able to use Twitter to take the pulse of society on any issue – our zeitgeist.
Yesterday, as Yahoo announced the layoffs of over 1000 employees as part of an effort to refocus on core businesses, the world got to see the true power of Twitter as a force in changing the way our culture will experience day to day occurrences. Here’s a transcript (thanks to ValleyWag.com) of Ryan’s experience being laid-off today. The result, a brutally honest, tragic, poignant, yet uplifting chronicle of this day – told minute-by-minute. A new form of literature – twitterature – is born.
Y! layoffs today, I’m “impacted”. I’m heading into work to pack my desk, get my severance paperwork and hand in my badge…more to come. about 10 hours ago
On the plus side, my commute just got a lot shorter. about 10 hours ago.
Ironic that I just got my PC repaired yesterday. Won’t be needing that anymore. about 9 hours ago.
Walking around saying good bye to some great people and good friends. about 9 hours ago
Waiting for the call from HR so I can go pick up my paperwork….C’mon, c’mon! I’m busy here! Let’s get this over with. about 8 hours ago
This is a serious downer. Trying to drown it in free lattes. Which I will miss. about 8 hours ago
Thanks to everyone sending the positive tweets. I’ve got plenty of free time now so just let me know if you want to meet up for lunch. about 8 hours ago
Ugh. I have a 1GB flash drive and 2GB files to back up. That is teh suck. about 7 hours ago
Heading into my HR meeting. The room is called Lucy. Cute, eh? about 7 hours ago
Finishing meeting with HR. Need to go clear out desk now. about 6 hours ago
Dammit. I was hoping to hook up the free Flickr Pro account before I got canned. Major fail. about 6 hours ago
Taking my last walk through URLs. Remember that time we sat in that booth to review ad yields? That was great… about 6 hours ago
Lots of whispered conversations. Like people are afraid to ask who’s gone. about 4 hours ago
Dear Blackberry, What great times we had. I’ll miss you. At least until tonight when I stop on my way home and buy an iPhone. Love, Me about 4 hours ago
Oh…and my badge. He’s going to take that too. Will I be able to get a latte for the road still? about 4 hours ago
I’m going dark in a few minutes. The HR guy is on his way over to confiscate my laptop. about 4 hours ago
Last free triple non-fat latte from Beantrees. Sniff. about 3 hours ago
Signing off from Yahoo!. Fade to black… about 3 hours ago
Celebrating unemployment with a giant margarita at Chevy’s. 5 minutes ago
Follow Ryan’s future here..