Friday, 31 October 2008

New World: Old World

A short post to make note of an interesting paradox.

Here we are in the nascent and emerging world of web 2.0 where - we are told - that the community rules; that the days of broadcasting are over; and, that brands must engage in interaction and communication with their audience to make their way.

A brave new world? Perhaps. But take a look at these leading examples from Twitter (which has me hooked) which, by general early adopter consent, is at the vanguard of all that web2.0 represents.

These are four examples of people using Twitter with large followings. When they speak their words create waves in the twitter community (ok, so I exaggerate a little in the case of Jemima but I wanted a UK example and she is great). But the key point is not the number of followers but the proportion of followers to those that they choose to follow in return. Without the 'follow' back there is no return leg and no chance of conversation.

I'd argue that in these cases, either the 'publisher' or the audience at large has re-created the existing publishing world paradigm where "I talk and you listen" or perhaps "I want to hear you talk". In this instance, Twitter is nothing more than any other distribution channel or a place where the audience can gather to listen. Not very web2.0.

If this is worrying for you then you should know that the profile in the bottom left is the Founder and CEO of Twitter!

This is the paradox that I mentioned above. Of course, I could leave the post there and leave you with the impression that all tweeters are like this but here are some examples of people who are either champions of the community movement or are applying its principles.

Let's hope this bodes well for Barack Obama's Presidency (fingers crossed) that in the twitter world he proactively seeks out conversation with others (he has fewer followers than those he is following).

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