Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And the next twitterish thing is DIY

How long has Twitter's growth to continue before it plateaus?

The good people of Adland had a trick or two when it came to ensuing continued growth of the brand. Keep the info tight and no matter whether you're in the office or shopping for flip flops in Borneo, you're still on company time.

Similarly, as my friendly Ghanaians would say: "Don't mind the body, but mind the engine" reduxed in the West into the swan syndrome: Ignore the the swan's feet, just watch the elegance on top.

In both cases twitter's being wholesome. Gosh, I think, wouldn't it be great to a bit twatish like Robbie Williams declaring to his fans: "I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams".

No chance. Notwithstanding this piece from The Economist (Twittering all the way to the bank) which reports a leaked memo, twitter appears on its way to the bank, as is the engineer behind twitter decks.

However I can't help thinking its CEO Evan Williams (EV) 's first broadcast to BBC Newsnight only a couple of weeks ago had a banana skin. By dint of talking to Newsnight, it made for an interesting interview.

But when EV responded to the interviewer Kirsty Wark's question about Twitter being a fad, EVs reply that: 'Twitter will only be a fad if someone comes along and does it better', had me visualising PRs working the phone to clarify what he meant.

Shape Shifting
Not that he said anything wrong. No it was an honest straight forward answer.

Except when you're on the end of a news interview, stay honest, but don't do straight forward reciprocating the question.

EV could have simply said. I don't believe, so, which is stronger than I think so.

But by engaging the question opens up to an unconscious subtlety on the one hand and a good headline down the road on the other.

Detectives and lawyers call it shaping.

Lawyer: Did you go down that street in order to call that man a name?
Defendant: I would only go down that street to call that man a name if I wasn't doing anything.
Lawyer: So you admit then if you weren't doing anything you would have gone down that street.

Despite the hypothetical nature of the last question, it sows the possibility to the jury/audience that the man could have called him a name.

One thing is certain about the next thing after twitter:
It will have been devised by a person/friends to assist their quality of life.
It will initially be rubbished by everyone else.
It's most likely going to come from the US
It will make its jump into the ecosystem
It will be a bridging tool - more networks

And it too will be asked whether it's a fad

Defense Lawyer shouts objection, that's hypothetical, but the subtlety of the point is made.

I'm sure Peter Barron, former editor of Newsnight who's now communications chief for Google in Europe, will have made this point to his staff.

The morale never answer a question with the original question, despite what your interviewer is inclined to tell you.

p.s Here's an interview I conducted with
Yahoo's VP for Product Strategy, Bradley Horowitz