I don’t post much about Twitter even though I think about it a lot. First of all, being an investor and board member makes it complicated. Second, there’s way more chatter about Twitter than is necessary, and if anything the hype machine should crank down, not crank up even more.
But I saw this slide in a deck this week and it struck me as so right. Twitter has never been about technology, certainly not during its fail whale period, and not even now when the tech team at Twitter is doing a great job. Twitter, like all social media, is about the people who use it.
Dan Frommer has a post up on Techmeme this morning where he talks about the great citizen journalism that produced this photo yesterday.
And in the comments of that post, there was a discussion between Nicholas Carson (another Alley Insider blogger) and some readers. One of them, Ari Herzog, wrote this:
Ari Herzog said:
Surreal stuff, Janis.
And Nicholas, I’d argue Twitter isn’t awesome. Rather, it’s the combination of people using it, services supporting it, and buzz about it that make it awesome.
You can follow me @ariherzog.
That’s the same point the slide I saw this week is making. Sure the technology allows all of this to be possible, but the technology behind twitter is not what makes it special. It’s the people who are on it and the way they use it that delivers all of the value.
It’s also, as Ari points out, the services that are supporting it that make twitter what it is. Twitpic, which Janis Krums used to post that photo to twitter, is a great service that I use from time to time. And there are literally thousands of other services built on top of twitter that we can use to do things that the twitter service itself doesn’t do.
That’s the trick, an open social platform that allows people, including developers, to do what they want with it. And that is what allows for the triumph of humanity that is twitter.
Fred Wilson is a partner at Union Square Ventures. He writes the influential
, where this post was originally published.