Twitter Is Not Dying

Twitter Is Not Dying

Twitter is not a social network. Not primarily, anyway. It’s better described as a social media platform, with the emphasis on “media platform.” And media platforms should not be judged by the same metrics as social networks.

Social networks connect people with one another. Those connections tend to be reciprocal. Facebook even checks in on you now and then to make sure you’ve actually met the folks who are sending you friend requests. As a social network, its chief function is to help friends, family, and acquaintances keep in touch.

Media platforms, by contrast, connect publishers with their public. Those connections tend not to be reciprocal.

The pace of modern world

the pace of modern lifexkcd has a brilliant collection of quotes from the days long gone.  All of those complain about how the world has become too fast and how we don’t care about the important things anymore.  The best part about these collection however is that all of these quotes are from the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century.  Once you drop ignore a few minor technical references like telegraph, it’s almost exactly like the complaints we hear today.  The world is too fast and we don’t care anymore…

Media landscape after 9/11

GigaOm runs an article on how much media landscape changed since 9/11.

But what strikes me every time I think about September 11 is how much the media landscape — particularly on the web — was transformed by those events, and how very different the world is now when it comes to how we experience real-time news.

When the attack happened, we were still in pre-social network era.  No Twitter or Facebook or Google+.  And even though quite a few people had blogs, the majority of the news were still coming from the TV and newspapers.  For those of you, who don’t remember, most news websites were dead for a day or two immediately after the attack.  Slashdot – a popular IT news website which is very much used to having tonnes of traffic was on the edge of collapsing too.  Here is their article for this year with a link to the September 11th, 2011 archives.

I remember working in PrimeTel office at the time.  I was involved with a project that dealt with video walls and window TV ads in multiple branches of a client’s business.  I had a large 40-something-inch plasma TV mounted on a stand next to my desk.  I was working on a piece of software that would combine video clips and images into a continuous playlist.  I was using sample ads from the client as well as a bunch of landscape photography images for my tests.

Once the attack happened and most of the news sites went down, we established a public folder where all colleagues could drop images and videos they found anywhere on the web and those would get automatically added to the continuous video that was playing on the TV.  I remember it was quite something.  By the end of the day people from other departments and other floors started to come by to watch it.  I remember even the owner of the company came in for a few minutes.

What I couldn’t realize then was how social that thing was.  It wasn’t me or anyone else in particular.  It was a collective effort of a few people.  Each one would come across something and then share it in the public folder.  That was very similar to how social networks like Twitter and Facebook distribute things these days.  And with the last 10 years, it was proved several times of how well this works.

As Mathew Ingram notes in that GigaOm article:

Now try and think about what it might have been like if September 11 happened today, with ubiquitous smartphones featuring cameras and video and web access. Although cellular networks were overloaded in the aftermath of the attacks, some Blackberry messages got out of the towers — and today, we would almost certainly have gotten a real-time flow of tweets and images and video from people in the towers, at the Pentagon, even on the plane that flew into the ground in Stony Creek, Pennsylvania.

Update: Joe Wilcox of BetaNews also reminds that there was no YouTube back then.

Muslims vs. Taliban vs. Al-Qaeda

Here is a useful chart for the next time you join the mass-media promoted generalization of Muslims.

As you know, I am not religious.  But even I get annoyed with all that hate of Muslims and their supposed relation to terrorism and violence.  I knew a few Muslims myself, and at least those are extremely kind and warm people.  I’ve been in their houses, ate with them, drank with them, talked with them, played with their kids, and seemed to overly enjoy myself.  So cut the stereotypical crap already.

On citizen journalism

Cyprus Mail has an interesting article on the rising role and side effects of citizen journalism.

Throughout the social media – from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube – photos and film are posted every minute that breach codes of conduct, laws of copyright, personal privacy and government laws. From pornography to celebrity parties, from inside Guatanemo Bay to soldiers on the frontline telling it how it really is: images are escaping censorship and regulation.

I think that censorship is not an option anymore, at least in global scope.  Cameras are everywhere – cheap semi-professional equipment, camcorders, webcams built-in into every notebook, mobile phones, etc.  Also, free or cheap Internet access is pretty much everywhere.  And on top of that, technology got really simple – one doesn’t need a Computer Science degree and years of experience to capture a video, upload it to a social network and share it with the rest of the world.

And when the censorship option is gone, the only reasonable option that I can think of is education.  If governments, companies, parents, societies, etc. will start educating people, focusing on the “good” instead  of “bad”, if appreciating conducts, laws, and ethics will be encouraged, then we’ll see more of the “better” content.  Of course, nothing will prevent us from a few “bad apples”, but once the appropriate values will be set, a lot of people will follow.

In some sense, this issue is similar to tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption.   While there are certain legal issues – licensing, age limits, advertising, driving, etc – the major control over population’s behavior in regards to tobacco and alcohol is, IMHO, done via education.  It is when you show people over and over again what are consequences of tobacco smoking and alcohol abuse, when you educate them on the side effects, and so on and so forth, that’s when they start thinking and reacting in the way that you would want them to think and react.

Of course, legal consequences can be implemented to some degree.  For example, for showing the moment of death and such.  But those would be very difficult to enforce, due to the global nature of the Internet, digital media, and such.

Longer video? Maybe.

Scobleizer believes in longer videos:

Advertisers also will pay a lot higher rates for those long-form ads.

Why?

Because someone who’ll watch a 30-minute video is HIGHLY ENGAGED. They are far more likely to become a customer than someone who just watches a two-minute entertaining video.

I think that “video” is too broad for this topic.  To consider only educational and entertainment videos, I see a huge difference.  I don’t believe that entertainment videos will become longer.   Entertainment is a sort of thing that doesn’t have to go either deep or long.  Thus it doesn’t need large chunks of time.  Educational video is a totally other story.  While there are many “howto” type of videos, many topics require more than 5 minutes to explain.  Take Google Tech Talks for example.  They are pretty popular and each one takes about an hour.

There is also this factor of production costs.  It’s much harder to create 60 minutes of high quality (and I don’t mean pixels or bytes) video material, than 10 minutes.  Or 5.  Filmmakers know that.  And the audience knows that.   While less and less filmmakers will risk it, and more and more of those who do risk it will produce crapy long videos, the audience will learn the benefit of a short video and will be more inclined into choosing shorter formats.

However, since I am not at all involved in any video production or distrubtion, I might be totally wrong on this.  Judging purely from my own experience.  And my own experience mostly comes from YouTube and Google Video.

The state of local media in 2008

Terry Heaton posted an insightful article on 2008 predictions for media companies and Web developments.  Here is a quote to get you started:

Consequently, we have traditional media who have played with the Web instead of embracing it, and a change in this kind of thinking will dominate new developments for local media companies in 2008. We have no choice. 2009, with a new President, no election or Olympics, economic uncertainty, and digital television on top of already decreasing revenues, looms like a tidal wave just a few miles off shore. As AR&D president and CEO Jerry Gumbert puts it, “2008 will be all about getting ready for 2009.”