What's the next Twitter of the social web?
Good question, right? I mean, there's always a "next" big thing in the world of the Internet. It's a little hard to think about it though, seems like Twitter just became "main stream" (well, some might argue, sort of main stream anyway). Its certainly growing like crazy and there are a lot of main stream celebrities so maybe that makes it main stream. I'm also not so sure we've "figured" Twitter out yet. I know how I use it, and I do really like it for all sorts of reasons, but it seems like almost everybody has their own answer for "what is Twitter"? Maybe that's actually part of the point of Twitter, it can be molded to what you want out of it, more so than say Facebook, anyway. One of my favorite things about Twitter is that it is both synchronous and asynchronous, which to me, makes it much more useful than IM or email (partly because of the tacit implications associated with each of them). Think about it, on IM, for example, if you leave your status on "available" then anyone who uses that vehicle feels like they should be able to get an immediate response no matter what you might be doing on the other end. It's really worse than a phone, although many people react to a ringing phone the same way (I don't, I learned a long time ago that a ringing phone may appear urgent but it is not necessarily important, at least not until I know who is calling and about what. I screen and if I don't know the number it's on its way to voice mail). Anyway, you get my point, and that's not really what this post is about anyway (not that I wouldn't enjoy a good rant about how I hate email).
Back on subject, what might the next big thing be? I posted recently on what I think the next gen web looks like, so I guess that's a good place to start looking. I think there are a few factors that could play into it, real time, mobile, location based and video for example. I personally think video is just emerging and will gain in following both in the consumer web and in the enterprise. YouTube of course is the established player but time is ripe for something new here. I've started looking at two newer services that have some potential 12Seconds.TV and Qik. They both support short, mobile (and web / desktop) upload and Qik supports live stream as well. 12Seconds.TV seems, at least now, as more of a consumer play but Qik is clearly looking for enterprise use (they talk about PR, marketing AND customer support). The idea is interesting, I think video will be a significant part of e2.0 / social enterprise as I stated on this blog recently. Video can incorporate some of the other characteristics too, certainly it can be location specific or geo-tagged, it can be streamed so it's real time and mobile as well (the new iPhone 3G S had a big impact on mobile uploads to YouTube, which to me says the audience is ripe to participate).
If it's not video, what else might pop up? Location based social networking is interesting, like Google Latitude for example. Maybe this works better in conjunction with existing networks though, location based Twitter or Facebook, for example. I'm not sure we need a standalone location based networking service, it seems like it would be much more interesting as a feature of an existing network. And speaking about Google, what about Google Wave? There is a lot of buzz still on this one and I personally do like the idea that there is something coming to replace outdated comm / collab tools like IM and email. I think it's still to early to tell though on Wave, but I do believe there is a place for a web native way to communicate and collaborate that is coming soon.
There's also another possibility (OK, there probably are a million others but here's one more), maybe Twitter is the next big thing. I do think we're still "figuring" it out and learning new ways to use it. Certainly businesses are experimenting with Twitter in a bunch of different ways and there's a lot more to learn. Twitter itself is still working on a business model, so who knows where that might lead. Yes, it's possible that Twitter will succeed itself as the next "big" thing...what do you think?
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