A good friend just asked me if I really thought Twitter was going to take off, and I guess around that are a host of questions on the value it offers to its users. Maki has some great thoughts on ways it adds value to its users (thanks to Jennifer Laycock for the link), but one thing that just occurred to me as my friend asked the question and I glanced at my laptop to see the conversations roll past is that it seems to operate the same way talk-back radio did (or does for those who still listen to radio).
My Dad pointed out to me years ago the things the talk-back guys were discussing were invariably the things that made newspaper headlines the next day. In the same fashion, the conversations on Twitter revolve around other newsworthy pieces of information. They may not make the front page of the New York Times, they may not even make the front page of the New York Times website, but they will invariably make it up on somebody’s blog, read by any number of people from one to a million.
In this fashion, I love Shel Israel’s notions of global neighbourhoods. I am not American but I am about as interested in the US election as a foreigner could be, and because of this I can discuss the goings on today in Florida with people actually State-side and engage in a discussion about it; I doubt there’s an audience for US politics large enough on Australian talk-back radio to make it worth anybody’s time to take the subject on. It also reminds me of something I think I read in The Black Swan, but I can’t quite remember; you can have only three readers for your blog, but those readers are the presidents of America, China and Russia, your influence out-games the raw numbers…there’s more there I think…
So with the understanding that a blog readership, no matter how small can have a significant impact on the (on and offline) world around the writer, and for a percentage of those posts to have origins in conversations on Twitter, then I think there is a role for it to play as a topic is started by The World™, discussed on Twitter, generating a blog about that discussion which incites further discussion and winds up any number of places. Or as James Governor ironically pointed out (via Marshall Kirkpatrick), if markets are conversations then Twitter is money.
*After-thought* I went back over to Twitter to think some more and saw a note from Loic about Seesmic. If Twitter is the start of a new talk-back, Seesmic is where it is going (additional thoughts on that as I get more into the service…)