Sh*t! Twitter is exciting - again!

Jan 31, 2012 · 6 min read · 1,491 views

Every epoch in the history of humanity had a raw resource that became the key to commercial success that time. Similar to companies that once sourced and refined silk to textiles, energy to electricity, or ore to steel, we now have companies that sourced and refined data to something useful. In the information age, data is the new steel and to find new forms to refine or apply it generates new opportunities for the whole market.

It is common knowledge that the next big opportunity is not in refining information in general but the manipulation of it in real-time. I first misunderstood this shift as just the “faster” version of working with information. But it is – at least in my humble opinion – far more than that. It is something new - it is a new phase of the information age - The real time information age.

About twitter…

This week I spoke with the brilliant @isasun - Twitter’s Germany employee #1. During the discussion I realized that Twitter has fundamentally changed its base. She basically smiled and watched me while I stumbled from “how is it to be at… you know… twitter” to “OMG this is awesome”. Because something happened I didn’t expect to happen ever again: I am excited about twitter.

At this year’s DLD @Jack didn’t use the word social – he merely spoke about conversations. Twitter is about real time data and its distilling to real time editorial content.

This is the reason why they want to control the presentation to end consumers and this is the reason why they de-emphasise on the social aspect of it.

Robin Waters made a great interview with @Jack. But he missed what Jack tried to make him excited about. It’s not the “working business model” of ads, it’s not that he works double shift and Twitter and Square. Hell seriously nobody cares for ads and he wouldn’t go back if he wouldn’t see something big.

Our goal is delivering relevant content to people, instantly. This sounds simple but is in fact extremely complicated to pull off in real-time. We want to bring you closer to what’s happening in the world, and we have a lot of work to do…


From real-time delivery to real-time editorialization…

With the relaunch twitter moved from the focus on real time distribution and interaction to real time “content editorializing” the activity of processing data into understandable context. This purified real time data will be a highly valuable asset in the next 5 years. In this space twitter is in the best position to be.

In the real time information age twitter might be bigger than google!

Their content source – their ore/their tweets - is highly socially curated, highly contextualized, summarized and location-aware content – it’s perfectly prepared.


Their final product – the “Discover” area - is the perfect playground to find out how far you can automatically (via social curation) prepare content for editorial consume. Their communication tools are still the only transparent global channel in social media, connecting the people around a topic and therefore contextualising and verifying topics.

The new section “Discover” moves twitter from being the place where news are discussed and distributed to the place where news are consumed and it pushes twitter to be the first real time press agency worldwide. Within the next 5 years they will supply all media houses. In the real time information age twitter might have the purest steel, the finest silk cloth, they have the purest real time content.

Shit… Twitter is exciting… again.

Commercial Break -

As a sidenote: Maybe i am so excited about real time news because i have seen first hand how interesting these can be. A fellow seedcamp company called teleportd works hard to become something like reuters for real time images. They categorizes photos based on social and location in realtime and watch for stuff happening outside of the signal to noise baseline. And trust me: If something is happening right now in front of your eyes and you only see the relevant signals not the blurry noise - it is interesting! - trust me.

The next (possible) steps:

Twitter already started to launch “hotspot“ pages for every current topic which summarizes the topic, includes all forms of media and provides an introduction into this news based on relevance.

Twitter will introduce twitter alerts that inform media houses automatically if events are happening right now. They will provide them with the information in a structured and qualified form. They will use social annotation and social proof to provide verifications of sources to the media houses.

Twitter will provide media houses with easy to use tools to moderate the realtime content. By that they minimize the time media houses need until they can monetize the news. Media houses will get tools that (By social and semantic context) will pre-moderate real time content to safe and verified information bytes they can show their users.

The Old Press Agencies and the Future Media Houses

Classical press agencies will focus on what they focused on anyway lately – being copywriters for publishers that can’t cover all topics with their own resources. Only the few press agencies that can better beat twitters speed with quality will survive in the sourcing game. Media houses will do what they always focused on. Gather, qualify and contextualize sources of information and bring them into bigger pictures. But twitter will become their number one source for content.

It’s 2012 – We have moved from the information age into the real time information age. And in the real time information age Twitter might be bigger than Google. Twitter is no longer the forever-second in social media. The game is changing. Right now.

Thanks to @lifftl for reviewing this article and helping me to get my brain-dump-overload into order.
Please let me know know what you are thinking by contacting me via twitter or commenting in the hackernews discussions.

Until then go play. The Internet is awesome. – Andreas

Ps: I bet a full case of beer that Twitter acquires Teleportd this year, unless google beats them to it. These guys fit perfectly in Twitter’s current strategy. I am pretty sure they will teleport into the blue bird’s nest quite soon.