Here at Right Hat, we’ve been having a lively dialogue among ourselves about the fate of Twitter. We were spurred on by a recent series of postings predicting the demise of Twitter. Andy Edelstein, one of our collaborators and veteran copywriters, summed up much of what we’ve been thinking.
Twitter is, for the first time ever, enabling the mass sharing of events in realtime. Whether it’s the plane landing on the Hudson, the Iran revolution, or the LMA Conference, there’s never been a way for both observers and participants in an event to track that event as it’s happening. This has huge implications for the way news is gathered, disseminated, and interpreted at a time when traditional news outlets (newspapers, eg) are in danger or extinction. We used to rely on journalists to help us make sense of the news. Now, for the first time, that process is a two-way street — we, the public, are helping journalists make sense of it. In Law Firm Land, we can now envision lawyers all over the country (and world) finding out about a ruling the minute the judge utters it, thereby generating big time buzz immediately, and having a consensus of interpretation of the ruling’s meaning established and accepted before the journalists and so-called thought leaders ever get a chance to weigh in. Under such circumstances, the lawyers with the most followers on Twitter stand a real chance of becoming the true thought leaders in their categories.
Twitter is also the ultimate “pointing” medium. Through the use of short URL’s, Twitter is now the medium of choice for disseminating articles and opinions about anything. A marketer with a credible reputation on Twitter can now insert any article into any discussion simply by including a link — pointing, in other words. This will soon be our preferred way of getting out think pieces, especially stuff that’s immediately topical. We will be gauging our success by the number of “retweets” we generate.
New technologies are evolving around Twitter as we speak, and these will go a long way towards getting around the rather primitive interface that exists now. Tools for using and exploiting Twitter are still in their infancy, and serious business-oriented tools have yet to weigh in.
So here at Right Hat, we will continue to watch how Twitter evolves. But we remain cautiously optimistic. As I told a Gen Y colleague yesterday, I remember the eye rolling and skepticism by professional service firms when voicemail, faxes and the Internet were first introduced. As a result, I never discount technology shifts.