Twitter comes of age

2009-06-17 10:15
Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams. (AFP)

Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York -Twitter may be only two years old and not making money yet but it has definitely come of age.

Just days after Time magazine put Twitter on its cover and weeks after talk show megastar Oprah Winfrey signed on as a user, Iranians turned to the service to protest the results of their presidential election and get the news out.

As Iranians fired off "tweets" about the disputed vote, half a world away in New York hundreds of entrepreneurs, advertisers, technology buffs, media and others from around the world were attending a conference dedicated to Twitter.

And if that wasn't enough, the importance of the San Francisco-based startup was underlined by the US State Department, which asked Twitter to postpone a planned maintenance shutdown on Monday because of the situation in Iran.

"It's humbling to think that our two-year old company could be playing such a globally meaningful role that State officials find their way toward highlighting our significance," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said.

Twitter's real-time messages of 140 characters or less have attracted attention before - most notably with eye-witness accounts during the November attacks on Mumbai - but nothing like the focus of the past days and weeks.

The brainchild of Stone, Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams, Twitter has been adding millions of users a month for the past several months and its website received 32.1 million unique visitors in April, according to comScore.

The actual number of users of the micro-blogging service is hard to figure since Twitter can be accessed using personal computers, mobile telephones and dozens of custom-built applications such as the popular Tweetdeck.

'Bright and profitable future'

The Twitter co-founders have reportedly passed up offers running into the hundreds of millions of dollars for the service and have so far only unveiled vague plans to turn it into a money-making venture.

Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist whose firm Union Square Ventures is an investor in Twitter, made it clear at the Twitter conference in New York on Tuesday that he believes Twitter has a bright - and profitable - future.

"Links are the currency of the internet," Wilson, who sits on Twitter's board of directors, told the 140 Characters Conference.

"If you look at the power of Google, and why Google is currently the king of the internet, it's that Google drives more traffic to more places on the internet than anybody else," he said.

"Social media, particularly systems like Twitter and Facebook that are good at driving traffic out into the internet the same way that Google does are very important and powerful economic forces," Wilson said.

"It's a natural thing for services like Twitter and Facebook to eventually figure out how to inject some sort of a paid model into their systems.

"It's the obvious thing to do and if they don't do it some one will figure out how to do it as a third-party application, and people are already doing it as third-party applications," he said.

'Democratised access to information'

John Borthwick, whose company Betaworks is among the hundreds that have developed tools for Twitter, said it is this "incredibly vibrant ecosystem of applications" surrounding Twitter that is one of its strengths.

Jeff Pulver, organiser of the 140 Characters Conference, said it is too early to tell exactly where Twitter is going, but "I think what we're experiencing is something that's much bigger than all of us understand".

"We're living in a time where access to information is available to anyone and everyone," said Pulver, a web entrepreneur. "The advent of Twitter has democratised access to information to everyone.

"When more and more people have real-time information we're going to see transformations happen that no one expected," he said. "Businesses will fail, others will flourish and there will be billions of dollars of opportunity created."

Read more on:    time magazine  |  us state department  |  oprah winfrey  |  iran  |  new york  |  san francisco  |  twitter
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.