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When will Twitter start for real?

Sunday, May 17, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named twitterbird.gifI've got a new way to view Twitter these days, looking at the collected tweets of people who work at two companies: The NY Times and at Twitter itself. I hoped to see cohesion, discussion between people working on projects together. Not yet.  Permalink to this paragraph

Last night I added an aggregation of the tweets of the Gillmor Gang, a weekly talk-show podcast about the tech industry. And of course there's the first one, the Top 100 most subscribed to twitterers. Permalink to this paragraph

Now it's still really early in all of these feeds, but then that's how we think of Twitter itself. It's still early. It hasn't happened yet, whatever it is we feel is going to happen.  Permalink to this paragraph

If you look at the tweets, dispassionately, what you'll see is a lot of people broadcasting. There is some shared wisdom, but not much of it is all that useful. One twitterer says you can walk into the wrong gender's bathroom by accident if you're reading tweets while leaving the correct bathroom. Another says he used a line from a movie in a meeting but no one knew what he meant. People wait for taxis, get them or don't get them. Yesterday I went to a ballgame and uploaded a picturePermalink to this paragraph

What will it take for Twitter to advance beyond its potential to be great, to realize its potential? It's been in a holding place, in my experience, for a long time. Last summer we thought first Twitter had to stabilize, stop fail-whaling in order for it to realize its potential. I suppose some thought it would get real when the low-level politicos showed up, then the reporters, then mainstream users, celebs, Oprah.  Permalink to this paragraph

At some point the potential must be realized. What will it look like then? Permalink to this paragraph

Meanwhile, even though some have said blogging was killed by Twitter, or RSS -- I still blog (you're reading a blog post right now) and I get most news from my aggregator. If I depended on Twitter for news it would be very haphazard, completely non-systematic. Today the only real use Twitter has is to explore the potential of a new medium. So far that exploration hasn't turned up much gold. There's the potential of value, that we see. Permalink to this paragraph

At some point we will finish this sentence: Twitter is... ? Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, 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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Last update: 5/17/2009; 8:26:03 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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