Apr 30 2009
A quick multiple choice question:
What does it mean that you can now tweet with your thoughts?
A. A media-savvy PhD candidate knew how to get some attention
B. Resistance is futile—you will be assimilated
C. Twitter is mainstream
D. Twitter is passé—social networking via thought is the new, new thing
If you answered A, you are correct, but short-sighted. If you answered C, you are also correct, and are starting to see the larger implications.
Twitter may be Oprah’s latest favorite thing, but the long-term implications are enormous: the concept of “now” will never be the same again. In the past, your understanding of what was happening “right now” was constrained by what was in your immediate physical surroundings. Eventually, this grew to encompass what you could see on live broadcast TV, but still, this is a very limited scope of the entire world.
The “new now” of real-time, ever-present social networking means that you can see what is happening from millions of viewpoints instantly. The first time I watched a “twitterfall”—a stream of real-time updates coming in from all over the world—I was reminded of a scene in “The Matrix”. Our erstwhile hero, Keanu Reeves, stares at three screens, overwhelmed by the scramble of random green characters that cascades across each screen. He’s baffled trying to interpret what he sees onscreen, and his buddy says, “You get used to it. I don’t even see the code. All I see is blonde, brunette, red-head.” How does he see through it?!
But, remember the power is not that the “new now” exists—the power is in the fact that it is instantly searchable. That means that you can see what your customers think in real-time. So can your potential customers. You can do instant polling and focus groups. And, so can your competitors.
All of which is to say that there is a huge sea of information to dive into, but the waters are deep. That’s why White Horse has a dedicated Emerging Media service offering—our conversation audits and social media monitoring are the difference between swimming in those treacherous waters and riding in a power boat.
We make sense of The Matrix every day.