Invent a neologism time….
A youtility. Isn’t that what Twitter is? There’s a great deal of debate about whether it can ‘monetise’ its user base.
How does Twitter work? It serves a huge array of purposes for us – from breaking news to travel information to making arrangements on the fly. It provides a platform for opinion, gossip, argument, boasting, lying, debating, thanking, congratulating, selfies, joking, insulting, befriending, defriending and more.
It’s a salad of opinion. It’s also a salad of data – about us.
We don’t read about ACORN analysis, etc, anymore because our neighbourhoods are largely digital – and we’re nomadic.
The prize for social networks is a far closer and deeper understanding of our opinions, motivations, needs, aspirations and more. ACORN looks hugely clunky by comparison.
Last week Twitter’s stock dropped because investors are worried about its ability to make money via advertising – and by a sense that user numbers and engagement were plateauing.
Maybe investors are focusing on the wrong metrics. Twitter’s user base is a set of hyper-engaged consumers. Twitter knows a huge amount about us as individuals. Mining that data (which conveniently is public) could be hugely valuable to Twitter and its customers in ways that we don’t yet understand, but may eventually pay back handsomely. Twitter knows my politics, my taste in music, what I find funny, what I read. It knows I have a pond. It knows where I work, what I do, who I talk to the most, how I see myself – and probably more than I do about how people feel about me. It knows what I like, tolerate, feel indifferent to and actively dislike.
And perhaps that’s the payback. You get the utility. The utility gets you. Youtility. Get it?