Ten Simple Rules for Twitter


Loved this so much from Umair Haque that I’ve just copied the lot! Take a look and be sure and go back and let him know what you think (http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/haque/2009/06/twitter_2.html):

1. Ideals beat strategies. What infuriates people most about Twitter is that it seems to have no plan, scheme, or angle. “Hey, Twitter” say the pundits: “don’t you know the business of business is to profit, by any means necessary?”

They’re as wrong as Dubya was about Iraq. The business of business is to create value — and that’s why Twitter’s not playing the tired, old game of value extraction. It is trying, instead, to create a more authentic kind of value — and to do that, you need ideals. Twitter pursues its ideals — democracy, peace, equity — with the quiet intensity of a true revolutionary.

2. Open beats closed. Anyone can use Twitter, make friends with anyone else on Twitter, and read anyone else’s Tweets, unless they’re locked. Here’s Oprah, for example. Openness is important because it unlocks 21st Century economics — the new economics of interdependence.

What are the new economies that Twitter unlocks? See the next three points.

3. Connection beats transaction. In the 20th Century, what was viral was mostly the flu. Today, Twitter is the master of viral economies. I got this awesome link from you got it from he got it from them. In the 21st Century, virality can make many different kinds of value activities significantly more efficient and productive. Today, viral economies pass links and messages from person to person. What will they pass tomorrow — cars, jobs, houses?

4. Simplicity beats complexity. Twitter has also mastered what I calleconomies of pain. Twitter’s bozo-proof: even Ashton Kutcher can use it. Apple, Google, now Twitter: all know that extreme simplicity is economically powerful because without it, network members never connect in the first place.

5. Neighborhoods beat networks. Twitter’s network effects don’t feel much like standard ones. I can subscribe to your feed, yet you don’t have to subscribe to mine — times millions. What’s going on here? Twitter realizesneighborhood effects, not just network effects: complex sets of intersecting, overlapping, mutually reinforcing network effects. Oprah’s followers are a neighborhood, and so are Ashton’s. You can benefit from joining many of these neighborhoods — not just one larger network.

6. Circuits beat channels. Twitter isn’t building a new media channel. It’s turning yesterday’s channel into a circuit. Oprah doesn’t broadcast to you: rather, the innovation is that you can talk to her, you can talk to your friends about her, she can talk to all of you, and anyone can talk to everyone. Twitter has dropped a neutron bomb of real-time feedback into the heart of media: yesterday’s inert, rigid channel becomes a flexible, ever-shifting, reconfigurable set of circuits instead. Efficiency is gained — and monopoly is vaporized — as demand coalesces around supply, and vice versa.

7. Laziness beats business. Twitter hasn’t rushed to cram a “business model” down peoples’ throats. Instead of back-slapping each other after cutting deals, the Twitter guys are lazy. Why? They’re waiting to play, experiment, see what offers utility, creates value, and makes people truly better off. Business is too busy, most of the time, to care about any of that. Laziness says: “business models happen.”

8. Public beats private. Tweets are, by default, public. Not only can you message Oprah — but your messages to Oprah are public. Why is that important? Imagine, for a second, if banks had been run by Tweet instead of by executive suite: would Wall Street have been able to loot its depositors silly? Nope. Authentic value doesn’t hide in the shadows.

9. Messy beats clean. Hashtags and @s, Time notes, weren’t invented by Twitter – they were the result of people playing with Twitter. Twitter is messy — people can use it in uncontrolled ways — and that messiness means Twitter has better ideas faster than, for example, Facebook.

10. Good beats evil. To create a better kind of value, you’ve got to strive to be better. Authentic value doesn’t flow from evil — it flows from good. What’s evil about media? Saturation bomb ads, of course. And Twitter neither advertises nor accepts orthodox ads. Twitter, ultimately, is trying to conceive a better kind of advertising — and it can never do so if its already made a deal with the devil.

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