How to monetize Twitter

Besides courting IBM and then having Oracle buy you, of course!

  • Introduce paid accounts. Very small fee to get one, but most services are pennies pay-per-use, so encourage people to put more cash into their “twitter wallet”.
  • Editable tweets. Paid account holders can retroactively EDIT THEIR TWEETS TO CORRECT ERRORS. (Looking at @oprah here.) Although the internet and Google store everything forever, Twitter can control their own database & website (the primary source of twitter data), and could probably use their API limits as a whip to force most of the major third party clients to silently accept the edited tweets. To edit a tweet within 15 seconds of posting costs a penny; editing anytime after that costs perhaps a dollar. This is withdrawn from the twitter wallet the account holder already setup, of course.
  • Put ads on the website – on all non-paid account holder pages. This doesn’t interfere with functionality, and won’t upset the geeks, who are all using third party clients anyway. For paid accountholders, have the option to include ads on their twitter.com homepage, and allow a small kickback of the ad revenue to cover part of the paid account fee.
  • Add metadata to tweets for paid account holders. The sky’s the limit here (well, their database is the limit). Rich text formatting and Graphical smilies (in clients that support them, of course, which most will)? RDF / Hashtag / semantic web / SEO name=value fields attached to your tweet, and accessible from the API? All good things that people would pay for.
  • Life vests. Each paid account holder with a certain number of tweets gets a free, Twitter-logo’d live vest for wearing as they jump the shark with Twitter.

Wanted: someone to do the cost analysis of email traffic vs. SMS traffic (showing how 10 cents for an SMS is something like a bazillion dollars per megabyte) and apply the lesson to twitter.

Oprah is Twitter’s shark

With the coming of mainstream celebrities doing shows while twittering live, and competitions for a million followers, I join in today with the bleeding edge geeks who cry: Twitter has jumped the shark with the mainstreaming of it’s millionth follower contest, and with Oprah’s widely publicised (BUT UNFORTUNATELY SHOUTED) first tweet live from her show. It is somehow disappointing that with all the fanfare, the handlers in the old media world still don’t understand the new web: check out the inanity of the few follow on tweets she made. C’mon, I could have produced a better set of follow-on tweets this afternoon in my spare time than they put up. Sheesh.

This is not to say that Twitter didn’t succeed in one thing: the servers stayed up even in the face of rampant follow/unfollow attempts for @aplusk.

Let me add one disclaimer to my shark proclamation: while the fresh new appeal may have worn off for many, twitter is still a useful tool, especially with the many third party clients and website integrations. It’s just moved beyond the social scene for geeks, and out into… well, entertainment, I guess.

When will LinkedIn Answers become the new Expertise microcurrency?

The popular networking site LinkedIn has created a new Answers feature, where members can post questions, and members can provide answers.  They have a simple expertise system where the ‘best’ answer to each question garners an expertise point for the answerer.

I happened to be reading a question about webhosts, and decided to answer (I use 1and1 for my personal site).  Then I looked at who asked, and who (46+ people) was answering the question.  It’s a huge expertise mining operation!  I couldn’t figure out who was getting more traction in this simple example: the VC person asking who used which web host, or the various people – real life, or shills, we don’t know – who were including plenty of weblinks in each of their answers.

In any case, when do you think this will move to a micropayment system, like some of the other web expertise systems out there?  I’ll give the VC my opinion on web hosts for a few cents, especially since it’s getting him good data to get his job done.  Some of the questions there are clearly people looking for an easy way to do research.

Or am I being too harsh today?  LinkedIn is all about connections, so maybe we should look at it as the broader version of asking your question around the watercooler.  If it’s someone in your 1st/2nd degree contact list, then it’s not much different from a friend of a co-worker asking you for advice – there’s an inherent level of trust, both in the answer, and the fact that the trust won’t be abused.

If you’re on LinkedIn, then see their Answers tool.  If not, contact me for an invitation.  You don’t need an invitation to join – it’s free – but I’m currently at 99 connections, and you could be the lucky 100th person on my contact list!

To-do, to-do… too much to do

Actually, it’s the normal amount to do, I’m just not managing time very well.  Life as normal, I suppose.

LinkedIn continues to grow, I’m over 70 contacts without even trying very hard.  It’s becoming a game in a way, which is not the right way to look at it.  But their web ui is very good at focusing you on using the system more, which makes sense.  I still don’t need to pay; the free account is fine, ha ha.  But at least I’m at “100% complete” profile, now that a few kind friends sent me recommendations!

The weekend is in CT with Mimsley and company – relaxing as usual.  The only disappointment (besides no potato chips) is that Saturday night on cable TV is pretty darn boring.  I mean, coming to CT – after Roxanne goes to bed – is one of the very few times I get to flip thru cable anymore.  And the one time I can – nothing.  Even SciFi has a pair of cheezy – but not the right kind of cheeze – movies that are almost painfully bad to watch.  Cheap digital production, cable TV, and new distribution mechanisims mean that lots of new talent gets to try their hand at making movies.  Unfortunately the percentage of decent talent is pretty small.

Otherwise even the weather is cooperating: warm for November and nice and sunny.  The kids got to spend plenty of time running around in the yard.  It’s so nice for Roxanne to spend time with the cousins – it’s really fun to watch her chase around after Evelyn and company, and they have a lot of fun with her.

Linked-In spam – the fun and friendly kind

A new form of friendly spam. Searching for old friends and co-workers/cow-workers on professional networking sites like linkedin, and then sending them invites to join your network.

It’s kind of fun, reminiscing over people you worked with ages ago you wanted to have an excuse to get in contact with again. Especially when you take the boilerplate “introduction” email the systems give you and re-write it to be funny.

Well, I thought it was funny anyway. Will pimp my “linkedinlisting” later, once I have a big enough score on my list.

Ready to blog again; comment note

Good weekend, and I’m about to have my second Lotus sabbatical, so I’m actually, really, honest-to-goodness, finally, really mean it this time, start blogging again.  No, really.  I definitely mean it this time.

Heck, I’ll even leave this post as ‘Uncategorized’, hinting (mostly to myself) that someday this will be a site of rich content from Shane, and that I don’t need to count such a simple and pointless post in my future categories.  Not that most blogs aren’t personal, and sometimes seem pointless to the outside observer: that’s a key point to the idea of a blog.  You write, people might read.

Anyway, I wanted to mention that I’ve added a new auto-spam word to my comment system: “m y  s p a c e”.  Any comments with those characters in them will be silently and efficently dev/null’d.  The rest of the few spams that get through my spamsystem are either infrequent enough or amusing enough that I’ll moderate them away now and then.  But some luzer M-S type came and went through the whole darn site and spammed, so that’s not worth my time.  Plus, the whole M-S image of the net is so far away from my world that I just don’t need it.  Useful service for some, perhaps, but it still feels like it’s too frequently mis- or poorly-used to be valuable on the larger scale.