In the Planet Earth series there was one episode which covered the trees. Bad-ass deciduous trees to bad-ass tropical rainforest trees. If its big enough, it’ll have a mini-ecosystem living off it for survival. I like to call this the Big Tree Syndrome – where animals from far and wide come looking to harness the life the tree provides.
Online eco-systems work in quite the same way. Every big tech-success story creates a thriving eco-system around it. The Apple boom created, first, the iPod mod-squad and now the iPhone app industry reportedly worth $2.4billion a year (and that was back in August ’09). Facebook has made the apps and games business which is reported to be worth quite a bit if the Zynga (of Farmville fame) success is anything to go by.
Twitter on the other hand has had a much quieter time of it. And thats because of the nature of the medium they created. Its real-time and has a concentrated user-base of high-end celebrities and a hardcore bunch of early adopters – Techies. What an unlikely combination. The industry around it is, by comparison to the afore mentioned giants, modest. There are a number of Twitter Desktop apps but almost all of them are free. A number of analysis sites popped up but they don’t really make much money either.
The real money spinners, albeit controversial, were the (unofficial) advertising platforms that sprung up. Ad.ly et al. They would pay celebrities money to post sponsored tweets on their timeline. This was frowned upon because there are a whole load of high-influence tweeters who were techies (I don’t imply computer geeks – any soul with an appreciation for technology) and they probably couldn’t swallow the fact that a big-boobs buffoon was earning more than they were, doing exactly the same thing.
I thought about this post because its tonight (IST) and afternoon in Austin, Texas that Twitter honchos are expected to say something about their much anticipated proprietary advertising model. To really understand the awesomeness of this announcement, we need to think of a time when there were no ads on TV. Imagine how the first people felt when they saw ads!
Companies like Ad.ly have been pee-ing in their pants thinking about the possible outcome of a Twitter-Ad-Platform. It’ll make them so irrelevant they won’t even be worth pursuing till dinner! People have been speculating on how the ads should look and feel. We’ll see.
I just hope whatever they do is going to enhance my tweeting experience. Because as a son once infamously said about his mother’s death –
When a big tree falls, the earth trembles.
Update: The big news is out regarding the new Twitter-money-making platform and it was a kill-joy really.