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Main > Archives > 2009 > March > Evan Williams Explains Evolution of Twitter to Charlie Rose

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Evan Williams Explains Evolution of Twitter to Charlie Rose

twitter ceo evan williams

I'll never forget the first time I heard my journalism professor use the phrase "media melding."

It was during one of my first journalism and mass comm courses in the fall of 2000. He explained how  print, broadcast and the Internet,  were becoming homogenous. Newspapers were integrating outside sources on their websites, some websites were starting to look like newspapers and broadcast news was citing online sources for stories.This was a couple years before blogging and social networking revolutionized the entire web- the latest phase of media melding, or what we call "mashing" now.

For example, when Twitter  was created, it was distinctly different from twitter logoFacebook and Myspace because its primary function was to notify friends and co-workers of your status, and it was also used as an easy way to promote a site. Initially, the social networks were soley focused on user-to-user communication.

While that's still Facebook and Myspace's  primary function, their roles have expanded to the point where many are using the social network's status update features for the same purposes Twitter was created. In fact, many users have synched their Facebook status with their Twitter account.
Considering those facts, I thought Evan Williams made an outdated comparison when Charlie Rose asked him to contrast Twitter from social networks. Williams said:

Twitter is a synchronous (not synchronised) relationship model so I can be interested in you and you're sending updates and you have no idea who the heck I am or you just don't care about my updates and you ignore me. On a social network, you have to confirm. It's much more open and it creates a different kind of dynamic. You put stuff out there like you would on a blog.
 

Now, I must admit, Williams was right about the fact that Twitter is asynchronous,  However, I believe his claim that social networks are strictly for two-way communication is somewhat inaccurate. Granted, the majority of social network users are on there for the interaction among friends, but just as more tools and applications have been developed for Twitter, the same tools have altered social networks as well. 

Williams was touting the third-party developers who have created various programs for twittering, and he mentioned the different groups and organizations you can follow.

 There's also companies media, sports teams and friends. You can post a link to third party....Anything you can imagine now has a twitter interface all developed by third party developers. People just build all things around it.

Those are all great features, but last time I checked, there are plenty of apps, pages and groups devoted to teams, athletes, companies, go green organizations, charities, political organizations on Facebook. As for third-party enhancement, new apps are frequently made for Facebook. It seems like every day I receive an invitation to a new group, page or App.

Throughout the interview, Williams was very open and honest with Rose ,and he admitted that they're contemplating advertising implementation to monetize the site. However, he was too myopic when he boasted Twitter's evolution and adaptations yet failed to acknowledge the progress and changes occouring within social networks. I found a link to the interview video on Mashable.

By Matt O'Hern at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

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