I spend a lot of time speaking with both proponents and sceptics of Twitter (and by extension microblogging in general).
Basically the proponents say that Twitter;
- Breaks down silos
- Connects them to people they wouldn’t otherwise be in a position to communicate with
- Is a fantastic way to leverage the knowledge of the masses
- Is a great way to transmit information quickly
While those on the other side of the fence claim that Twitter is;
- A waste of time
- A hang out of the digital elitists
- A security risk
- Just a passing fad with no chance of becoming a "real" business
I’m a relatively heavy user of microblogging (Twitter for general stuff and Yammer within a workgroup) – but the best thing I’ve seen thus far to explain what it is all about is a video from Martin Weller – it nicely sums up both the value of Twitter, and the questions that will need to be answered if it is to survive.
Given this article in Wired where the Twitter funders said
It’s like the stupidest question in the world: How’s Twitter going to make money?, it’s like ‘How was Google going to make money? Eventually Google was going to make money and they figured out how to do it and they figured out a great business, and I think the same thing is true with Twitter
Or to paraphrase… we’ll get back to you on that one… Ouch
Interesting video – but it’s great for Twitter users who don’t know all the functionality or don’t know other resources.
It still doesn’t explain Twitter that well to my grandma – or CEO.
The viability and commercial potential of Twitter definitely has a polarizing effect on commentators. The Twitter founder you quote is Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures. He reflects on the quote in a post he calls the stupidest answer in the world – http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2008/10/the-stupidest-q.html