16 Sep What Is Twitter?

SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 14: Twitter CEO Evan Williams is seen silhouetted against a screen as he shows off the newly revamped Twitter website on September 14, 2010 at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California. Twitter launched a new version of the popular social media site in hopes it will be more user friendly. . (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The new Twitter.com was unveiled earlier this week with its sleek new design that makes things much easier to navigate in my opinion.

With that release comes the comment from Twitter VP Kevin Thau stating that Twitter is not simply a social network. This of course got numerous tech writers up in arms about what Twitter really is.

The problem with this argument is that everyone’s standards for what makes a social network a social network is different and odds are that each person has their own definition based on how they use it. That’s what makes Twitter so great. Different people get different things out of it based on what they want. The argument that it is not a social network but an information aggregator can be understood because someone could join Twitter, follow several news affiliates, and never send a single Tweet. It can still benefit them from a news aggregation perspective and this is very common.

Then there is the argument that the interactions on Twitter make it a social network. This is true but there is no guarantee that there will be an interaction.

I think it comes down to the fundamentals of the network. What drives Twitter? Its users drive it. Who is to say this can’t be based on individual terms? Sharing, consumption, and interaction are all a part of Twitter. I really think it all depends on how we personally define and use social networks.

I am not sure how much we should worry about this argument. As predicted by numerous experts, Twitter’s use will continue to change and as advertisers we will find new ways to use it. I am not going to get caught up in what it is or isn’t. I am more worried about how to use it successfully in advertising and marketing.

Sibet B Freides