Futurist conversations: Ross Dawson and Gerd Leonhard on the future of Twitter


Continuing our series of conversations on the future with Gerd Leonhard of The Futures Agency and myself, here we discuss the future of Twitter.

Some of the topics we discuss include:

* “Twitter News Network” or TNN describes how Twitter is now a news distribution media, dramatically increasing the speed of news, with most news hitting Twitter within 40 seconds.
* TNN will be bigger than CNN, including video and audio on Twitter, produced by the masses with rich filtering.
* In China Sina Weibo is as big as Twitter; one of the key differences with Twitter is that it includes video and other media in the stream, becoming more of a news channel.
* One of the key differences between TNN and CNN is the filtering – there is none on Twitter whereas CNN has editors and verification.
* In the decade of the reputation economy we will have more ways to assess news validity, though we will also need more finely tuned senses on what is or might be correct.
* If we look to Twitter for news we understand that it is not verified, however that doesn’t mean mainstream news is necessarily any more accurate.
* Twitter is an ocean whereas mainstream news is a dripfeed so it is more manageable.
* It is the role of the ecosystem around Twitter to filter the news firehose.
* Flipboard, paper.li, Twittertim.es, Geneio and so on are seeking to filter Twitter and social media.
* TripAdvisor and similar services – the comments could be the wisdom of the masses and/or the bullshit of the masses, but can certainly be useful.
* One of Twitter’s revenue models is charging companies significant amounts for access to the full Twitter firehose, but the ‘Spritzer’ feed of 2% of the firehose is available for free.
* In a world of information overload, Twitter is one of the most useful information sources if you know how to use it well.
* You can’t talk about swimming if you don’t want to get wet – to learn about and understand Twitter you have to use it.