Julian Clover has joined the millions who Twitter for no apparent reason. Will the latest social networking become a part of the TV experience?
It is the social networking phenomena of the moment and given the life expectancy of internet related ventures I thought I better get my article in quickly. Naturally enough Twitter has no discernable business model, there’s no advertising, and no subscription fee is charged.
Benchmark Capital and Institutional Venture Partners led a $35m funding round in February. At the time Benchmark partner Peter Fenton was quoted in the Financial Times as saying Twitter supported a variety of compelling business models. It’s just that no one has yet got around to implementing them.
Regular Broadband TV News readers will know that I first ventured into the world of Twitter at IBC 2008, but it is only in the past few months that the Twittersphere has come alive, in the UK at least on the back of a succession of promotions on the BBC. Accounts that have lain dormant are springing into life, at least while Twitter remains the flavour of the month.
Curiously it is radio that has really taken Twitter to its heart, presenters feeling they can get closer to their audiences, and like the journalists on the platform ask for material to use in their programmes. Sky News has its own Twitter correspondent.
The basic premise is to tell the world “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less. This is easier said than done, particularly given my habit of sending grammatically correct text messages, something for which I’m frequently reprimanded.
On Twitter you have ‘Followers’, those people who receive regular updates of your feed, and in the past week I have passed the magic 100 level, the total is now up to 116.
Included are a genuine rocket scientist; three members of the same family, none of my own is foolish enough to be interested in my wittering; three celebrities, well only the one really and the wonderful Stephen Fry will follow anyone who asks, Richard Branson clearly has his tweets written by his marketing department, and the third is the husband of a breakfast TV presenter; about a third of my followers are involved in public relations.
It is possible that Twitter or something like it might make it onto TV. There have long been attempts to put some sort of messaging device into TV platforms. Most recently Yahoo! has teamed with Intel to produce its TV Widgets, other technology providers including NDS have shown the means to get RSS feeds to deliver viewers’ chosen content onto the TV screen. Convergence is back in fashion, in fact it’s the new black, again.