I was really curious about seeing this clip because I work with Saul and he's a really amazing person (more about that on Friday). The clip caught me by surprise as Bill came across very negatively and extremely ignorant. The reality is that social media is here to stay and will be a tool (just like email is) for many. As a business, it's definitely a tool that will evolve. I have to say that overall, Saul was really calm and collected while answering the questions quite articulately.
I want to start out by saying is that Twitter is just a tool. Different people use it for different things. There are so many different types of apps that have been created to leverage all the various aspects of this tool.
"That cartoon sums it up"
The clip starts off with the cartoon about someone tweeting inanely on Twitter. I've actually seen the full clip before on YouTube and it's very funny. It takes one common use of Twitter and completely exaggerates it. I have no problem with that. However, it isn't the only use of Twitter. To imply that it is the only use of Twitter is ignorant. It's like saying that the only way to start a car is by hand crank. I do write about what I'm doing sometimes as I've got my mum on Twitter and some friends who might find what I'm doin interesting. But this is the most basic form. It's quite true to say that the cartoon does NOT sum up the use of twitter in any means.
"Who would pay $700M for a one-hit wonder?"
I wasn't sure what Dennis Kneale meant by calling Twitter a one-hit wonder because it could mean either that Twitter only has one feature or that the company that developed Twitter only has one product. Either case, I'm not really sure what the relevance of the comment was. Personally, I view Twitter as a technology. It has popularized the concept of micro-blogging and in so many ways is not that different than Blogger not so many years ago. Twitter may have very few functions but different people have used it for different uses. Companies like Comcast have used it to successfully provide better customer support while others use it to disseminate information while others use it to look for trending information
"How many followers do you have?
The number of followers really isn't that important other than for my ego. Today is the first time when the number of followers exceeded the number I'm following. A proud moment but as Saul said – it's not particularly relevant. For me personally, it's the number I'm following. For me I am constantly looking for people to help me keep on top of tech news in particularnew web tech or mobile tech, finding out more about what goes on in the real estate industry or simply meeting new, interesting and very smart people. Fortunately for me, Twitter allows me to do all 3 rather quickly and effectively.
I actually loved Saul's answer to this question. It was a perfect answer; your followers care and no one is holding a gun to your head. If people start to be disinterested in what you're saying then, people will unfollow you. I don't take it offensively when someone does – it's just that what I write or think may not necessarily interest everyone. At the end of the day, people follow you for a reason. Frankly, I am honoured that anyone follows me at all but truth be told, I don't really know who they are most of the time.
"I read it in the newspaper"
I won't say it's archaic but I haven't bought a newspaper in years. Largely because I find other means to get information and Twitter is now one of the richest sources of information. In some ways, Twitter is provides a natural filter for information overload if used well.
"Where is the business?"
There is about as much business opportunity with Twitter as there is with Facebook. Both serve to a certain fashion the same clientele. It's another social medium to disseminate information. At the very least, it's a well known infrastructure. If you liken Twitter to RSS, can you imagine if someone pattented RSS and every provider had to pay a fee to use that technology? There is a business opportunity here for Twitter. It is the most well known medium for microblogging right now and there are many apps that have been built on top of it.
"The bloom is off the rose now – tweetwise"
The comment was a bit ironic because earlier on Dennis Kneale mocked Twitter as a one-hit wonder but in this sentence he says that Twitter is losing is lustre because it's valued at $700M. Twitter is a very simple piece of technology. There is nothing amazing about it from a geek standpoint; it can and is easily replicated. What is amazing about it is that it has won and continues to win the hearts and minds of many as a means to communicate with others.
"Twitter is an excuse not to read"
If anything, this comment goes to show the lack of understanding of how Twitter actually works and how people are using it. This is a classic case of either misinformation or misdirection. One of the most powerful things you can do in Twitter is the ability to hyperlink and most people use it to hyperlink to photos, videos and blogs that give others a much larger view of what's going on. The 140 characters is simply a summary to let someone know whether or not they want to follow up on the topic.
I don't watch much TV largely because I can get my information elsewhere in a much quicker fashion so I don't know if Dennis Kneale is generally ignorant and an ass but in this case, he was quite a bit off base. I'm not even that much passionate about Twitter other than it's a really interesting way of getting information. If interested in looking at other great uses of Twitter, check out Microplaza and CoTweet.