News floating around that someone may buy Twitter. Those dancing around the buyout rumor fire include Google, Disney, Microsoft, Salesforce. Elephants dancing. Boom boom boom. Akuna matada indeed.
But it all began a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (well maybe just up the 280 freeway from Palo Alto to SF). When Twitter first began as a hatchling of sorts in 2006 I emailed one of its founder, Ev Williams, and we debated what Twitter was and could be. It wasn’t really a “social network” or “Facebook competitor” as many believed.
At the time I thought it to be a “social conversation” about things. And that’s kind of how it turned out to be 10 years later. Yes, the hatchling is now a bird of some sort. Although not quite full grown by my measure.
Many will debate the “true” value of Twitter and what it could/should be worth. The stock is up quite a bit since the deal talk began a few weeks ago.
But I don’t want to get bogged down into short-term thinking here, the sound byte of the day for CNBC.
I’d like to share some thoughts about the long view. A view of media and where it’s going. Because the pebble shook the pond way back when Mosaic, the browser developed in part by the pizza-eating team led by Marc Andreessen at the University of Illinois, hit the aqua in 1993.
By 1998 I imagined the browser as the OS killer, as the media franca (media of choice) for all mediums. I wrote about it. Now we are awash in the ever-flowing gush. It is not yet media franca stage for all media. In other words, all types of content on demand 24/7 via the network.
Stage set, let’s get back to Twitter 2025.
Step 1 - 2006 - 2016 distribution… DONE.
Step 2 - 2017 - 2019 content variety… IN PROGRESS
Step 3 - 2019 - 2025 the flow…TBA
Step 3 is the focus here. What I call the flow. The flow represents any TV show, any video content, any article, photo, any VR experience (yes, they are coming), along with their social context and conversations attached to them.
It’s not about a tweet mentioning a football game. Or some celebrity smoking a tampon. It’s a channel in a new media verse that breaks away from the ideas of the 19th and 20th centuries based on airwaves, auctions and spectrum. Breaks away from scarcity.
The new media verse is based on abundance.
OK let’s get more specific. Imagine a Twitter in the hands of:
Google (the benefit of it owning Twitter: deeper search and conversational search results about events, places and people).
Disney (the benefit of it owning Twitter: outlet for content, characters and programming that bypasses the limits of broadcast, cable, satellite and even Internet channels. Imagine Mickey Mouse or Star Wars as social conversational programming).
NBC (the benefit of it owning Twitter: the future of NBC).
Salesforce …more on them later.
Distribution is king. Content is queen.