Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Twitter's Real Value

Recently I was speaking with a Columbia MBA student who wanted to know what I thought of the "zillion dollar Twitter deal." I think we are all excited about the idea of seeing glorious Internet deals coming back. Remember, when you asked for VC money for hypothetical business plans and inflated numbers and you got a few more millions to just go and try things? While I am not sure if Twitter is worth a "zillion" dollars, I do think it deserves significant investment.

Twitter is more than a 140-character message update service where people rant about their latest activities. It is a very adept tool at collecting consumer data and mapping networks. As social media tools such as Twitter become mainstream, we'll see more talk about personal CPM. Today we go through many calculations and estimations to figure out how influential an Internet user is, how far they can drive a conversation, how many people follow their word and take their advice. Twitter is revealing plans to track retweets. That's very much like seeing the list of people who quote from articles and reference other people's work when advocating new ideas. It's a simple way of gauging authority. Retweets show how an idea is embraced and spread by Internet users. As simple as it may sound, I think that's a significant development in cataloging Twitter-based information.

I see Twitter as a powerful tool that will be able to show us how authoritative and powerful a given blogger/Twitter user is. Its advanced features will add a new dimension to online research about brand-related dialogues.

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