Twitter as full-fledged publishing platform
I can’t read the minds of the people running Twitter, and I don’t know how they’re going to eventually attempt to make money (and after waiting this long, won’t it be kind of weird when it actually happens?), but what I do know is that I’ve experienced a pretty fundamental shift in how I think about Twitter over the past several months.
I see Twitter as a full-fledged publishing platform.
What I mean by that is that I think Twitter will be seen as just as valid, rewarding, immersive, interactive, and fulfilling as any other form of online publishing. The form in this case is microblogging, which is on a similar growth curve and feeling some of the same growing pains as in the early days of blogging.
Now, part of the beauty of Twitter is its simplicity, its constraints, its flexibility within those constraints, and I’d be the last person to want to jerk with that. But I do think that a fully armed and operational publishing platform does need to satisfy a number of publisher requirements that aren’t quite available today on Twitter. But I think this will be pretty easily rectified, thanks in part to Twitter’s open API and the active development community that is rolling out new Twitter-centric apps and services all the time. As quick example, check out Rappers on Twitter. you just can’t get cooler than that, right?
While musing muse-y thoughts on Twitter yesterday, I realized that a key publishing need that isn’t quite available at present is analytics:
I wonder if Twitter will one day add publisher tools for twitter members, thinking ability to track stats particularly
It would be pretty amazing to have a Google Analytics-like service for your twitter profile, where you can see followers/friends on a map
And comprehensively track URL “drilldown” clicks, exit traffic, popular RTs… that would be amazing! Anyone doing something even close?
A Google Analytics-for-Twitter solution would be an astoundingly valuable tool for active microbloggers. (I’m not aware of anything that exists right now that is even close to this, but wouldn’t be surprised if someone is working on it, or has perhaps released it to the wild already!).
Just think about the ability to understand how many people are hitting your Twitter profile page and associated “drilldown” pages associated with each Tweet, and where they’re coming from, and to also analyze Twitter followers and Twitter friends by geography and keywords. This would give microbloggers a massive boost of data that they don’t presently have, at least not from one centralized service. Understanding that a particular tweet was popular and re-tweeted (thus the RT, above) many times, for instance, would give publishers a sense of their influence within the microblogging community.
Now, a natural next step with providing microbloggers with this set of tools is to further empower them with an easy yet powerful solution for participating in the monetization of their microblogging presence. I’m not sure how this piece will work, and neither is anyone else. But already we see ad services like Magpie, Twittad, and Adjix in the hunt to make land grabs. My prediction is that there will be more attempts and further experimentation in the months ahead.
In the meantime, happy microblogging!