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Why there will be many Twitters

Saturday, April 25, 2009 by Dave Winer.

Yesterday I wrote about the Lotus 1-2-3 of twitters, but it may not be obvious why there will be more than one network of networks -- so let me explain.  Permalink to this paragraph

1. Twitter is growing fast.  Permalink to this paragraph

2. Its use as a medium for news has become apparent. I've been saying that for a long time. It's both the front room and back room for news. How it's delivered and how it's produced. Permalink to this paragraph

3. Umair Haque suggested the NY Times buy Twitter. Of course it's too late for that. Pretty soon Twitter will be able to buy the NY Times.  Permalink to this paragraph

4. I think it's pretty obvious that Twitter is on a trajectory to become one of the major media networks, a Turner, Fox, NBC, Time-Warner, Viacom, Disney. When it's apparent to more of the heads of these companies, they're going to start wondering why their stars are on Twitter and not on their own network.  Permalink to this paragraph

5. The thought has probably also popped into the heads of the people at Twitter. They will try to make deals with some or all the media companies. They have a lot of power, and should be able to cut good deals. But as the negotiations go forward, it will become apparent to the execs that these guys are competitors. They will consider Make vs Buy. If they're smart, they'll do their deals with Twitter at the same time doing deals to get their own network going. Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named slippers.jpg6. Luckily for the other media companies, users are portable. I'll explain. Say Ashton Kutcher (someone who I had never heard of until he showed up at a tech industry conference last year) decides to cut a deal with a major studio to head a new twitter-like network. Could happen. They'll get their network built, quietly, then start leaking it with teases on billboards of course, but also (you guessed it) on Twitter. When Oprah sees him do his network, she'll want one. And so will Larry King and Shaq, and all the celebs who have yet to make a splash on Twitter. Brad Pitt and Ed Norton will call theirs The Fight Club. George Clooney's will be Oceans Million. Prince will hang out in Paisley Park. And you think Apple won't have one? It might have a 140-char limit, but it won't just be text. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

There's a lot of money to be made in these networks and it costs so little to start one. An average Hollywood film costs two or three times as much as all the money Twitter, Inc. has raised so far. Spiderman 3 cost $258 million. That's just one movie. And over time the cost will come way down. That's why I suggested that FriendFeed get a clone ready, now -- so they can do deals with the media companies when they're ready. Which might happen any week now, if it hasn't already happened. Permalink to this paragraph

Remember, it's not Kansas anymore, the house fell on the witch and Ev and Biz are wearing the Ruby-red slippers. Click your heels three times and say "There's no place like home." Permalink to this paragraph

Yours truly, over and out, Dave Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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