Twitter has something Google doesn’t – immediacy

This is obvious, but it’s worth pointing out, because I think it will be the crux of how Twitter defines its revenue potential. Last week, I tried to find out where I could watch Obama’s acceptance speech. CNN.com had it chunked up (I’m guessing for advertisement views) and the MSNBC site had a bug such that it showed the wrong video. The Democratic Convention site required Silverlight (and wasn’t updating fast enough, anyway), and C-Span took me back to 1999 by giving me a Real Media file. Searching Google gave me nothing, so I threw it out to Twitter, and less then 10 minutes later, Brad pointed me to the BBC. Boom, done.

Google has succeeded in large part because it is the first place people turn when looking for information. Twitter, and it’s real-time Q&A community, could insert itself into that behavior stream, when people know that what they’re looking for has a time-sensitivity that Google simply cannot currently handle.

In more recent days, Twitter has become a valuable in the spread of news, whether Sarah Palin’s nomination, or tracking Gustav. Google’s blog search is nearly as immediate, but just. not. quite. Twitter really does let you dip into a global conversation as it happens, for better and for worse.

3 thoughts on “Twitter has something Google doesn’t – immediacy

  1. Slightly off topic, but I recommend giving that Silverlight plugin a try. I groaned too when I first saw that I needed to install *two* plugins, but my jaw dropped at the live streaming picture quality of Obama’s speech, with very few hiccups, even from here in Tokyo. The experience made it hard to watch YouTube videos for a few days afterwards.

  2. Interesting but you fail to mention that you have over 1800 followers! Of course you can get answers to interesting questions, you’ve got an army of friends to help you! The real question is how does this scale? Can we all get an army of people that will answer questions for us? What happens if we all start asking questions? Twitter sometimes reminds me of a pyramid scheme (but a nice friendly one… ;-)

    Of course your Search example of Twitter is spot on and I completely agree with you there. In this case, you’re tapping into the collective core, something accessible to everyone.

  3. Agree with the article completely. Like Scott though, I would also like to point out that that the true potential of Twitter and the sense of immediacy is very much dependent on the number of contacts "following" you. I enjoy Twitter as both a social outlet and sandbox for open questions though. You can’t turn to Google for real life replies within minutes.