Marketing

The terror of Twitter

Author
Brian Boero
No.
227
Date
07/11/08

The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops.

Pozzo, in Waiting for Godot

What if you could float in the ether and listen to the wails of the world?

The unending hidden noise of humanity.

That’s what comes to mind when I think of Twitter. It’s marvelous and weird.

And it gives me the heebie-jeebies. But that’s my personal neurosis. I don’t want people to know what I’m doing now. I don’t follow much either. And I got rid of Twhirl, which is beautiful but distracting. So now I peek my head in when I’m looking for something. I occasionally find Summize useful, but that’s it.

If that makes me Nixon to your John Lennon, that’s OK. I’m comfortable in wingtips.

Discomfort aside, I’ve been eager for the business case for Twitter to become clear, because I do think there is one there. I have talked with some and read about many who have earned or kept business because of it. But here I’m thinking about scale. The enterprise. The “Waiting in line at Starbucks” writ large.

The launch of identi.ca last week may move us closer. The new open source microblogging application got a lot of play in the the big tech blogs but gained little notice in real estate. But the possibilities identi.ca holds for real estate are interesting, particularly for brokers.

Of course, the overriding benefit to Twitter — and the weakness of identi.ca — is not so much the app, but the community. It is the millions on Twitter that make it possible for real estate professionals to enter the stream and make connections. identi.ca can’t deliver that and never will.

Nevertheless:

  • I’d like to see a real estate blog or website provider throw identi.ca on a server, fuss with the code, and deliver a private-labled microblogging app tailored to real estate
  • A brokerage or franchise organization could implement identi.ca as an improvement upon the standard extranet. Agents and brokers could float referral offers and sample from the collective expertise of the organization in all kinds of new ways
  • An implementation of identi.ca that weaves in content would be great. I’d like to be able to create a feed of market stats from Altos, mortgage rates from Zillow or listings from an IDX solution.
  • A “Neighbors” version would be even more interesting. This would be in the same vein as a FriendFeed room, a neighborhood blog, or a Yahoo! Group. Again, piping hyperlocal content in would help a lot.

The microblogging format is here to stay. Real estate leaders should keep a close eye on it as it matures at warp speed. Even if, like me, they find it a little terrifying.

Brian Boero