Friday, 16th April 2010
Nancy Davis Kho
Less than a year ago I wrote an article for Information Today called 'Ten Things You Must Know about Twitter'. (http://digbig.com/5bbkna) It was still so new on the scene that many info pros were still looking for resources on out how to get started, never mind how to integrate it as a regular communication channel. In June 2009 there was still a perception that the microblogging platform was used primarily by bored youngsters reporting on what they had for lunch and when they'd be at the laundromat.
No one's calling Twitter a joke now. This week witnessed two events underlining the credibility and endurance as a communications channel. First, the US Library of Congress in Washington DC announced that it has acquired the entire digital archive of every Tweet back to March 2006 (http://digbig.com/5bbknb). Fittingly, the LOC announced the agreement first via its Twitter feed @librarycongress.
On an LOC blog post Matt Raymond, the Libraryís Director of Communications, said further: 'Expect to see an emphasis on the scholarly and research implications of the acquisition. Iím no Ph.D., but it boggles my mind to think what we might be able to learn about ourselves and the world around us from this wealth of data. And Iím certain weíll learn things that none of us now can even possibly conceive'.
Meanwhile across the country in San Francisco, Twitter convened its first-ever developer's conference, called 'Chirp'. The mood prior to the conference was wary. Third party developers have made a huge contribution to the success of the platform by rolling out innovative tools and platforms that turbo-charge Twitter and bring them revenue.
However in the past week Twitter announced that it would acquire Atebits, which developed the popular Tweetie platform. (http://digbig.com/5bbknc) The move makes sense for Twitter in that it gives them more control of their users, but 3rd party developers are nervous about the implications for them. Does this imply that Twitter is going to continue to expand the functionality and tools it offers end users - taking away the need for the third party developers?
Certainly at the opening session of Chirp, Twitter co-founders were trying to deflect concerns, with CEO Evan Williams reassuring the 800 attendees that "Twitter has always been about the developers." But from a business standpoint, with revenues finally expected to roll in to Twitter coffers with the launch of sponsored tweets, adding to the suite of tools available in Twitter itself seems not just prudent but long overdue.
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