Excuse the jump into nerd territory with this post, but I couldn’t resist mentioning the New York Magazine article I read Tuesday about the past, present and future of the Twitter machine.
The book-length piece, which centers on how the powers that be at Twitter headquarters intend on making the company profitable, did much more than simply talk about Twitter and cash (which it will generate, mind you). Author Joe Hagan talked at length about what Twitter is, what makes it great for those who use it and how it’s constantly changing despite not being fully defined.
For me, that’s the greatest part about Twitter: it has no true definition. It can be whatever each individual user wants at any given time and it can change almost instantly.
If you get a few minutes, read the whole article. If not, here’s a couple of notable excerpts.
“People describe Twitter as a global consciousness,” says Ryan Sarver, a fast-talking engineer who comes out of his third-floor sanctum to meet me in a conference room. Sarver, who is responsible for managing this chaotic flow, the so-called fire hose of tweets, says Twitter has only begun to take shape. “We’re in the early life cycle of what the platform is,” he says. “This is version one.”
In the planning rooms of Twitter, the most prolific and widely followed tweeters are called “influencers,” or “power users,” and they are at the core of its business. If it loses them, it becomes, essentially, MySpace—a digital graveyard where a party used to be. So while they race to retool the tweeting experience for the masses, Costolo and Dorsey are on a parallel campaign to keep Twitter’s star attractions, celebrities and politicians and the media, chattering away on Twitter.