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January 11, 2010

The Future Twitter Account

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 4:13 pm

Uberaba Lot’s of people are busy talking about Twitter’s growth and their journey to profitability. There’s plenty of discussion about new features and lots of questions about business models, but nobody’s talking about what the future Twitter account might look like. I’ve got a few ideas, and they don’t bode well for Twitter’s business model.

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I recently picked up a WiThings Scale. If you don’t, the WiThings scale is a scale with a wifi card built in. It automatically tweets out my weight every time I step on it. It even keeps shareable graphs of my weight so that everybody can see how Fat I’m getting. Since you’re all curious I’ll go ahead and share it here:

So what am I getting at? Well, my scale tweets. My foursquare account Tweets every time I check in somewhere. My Blippy account will soon Tweet every time I make a purchase. DailyBooth Tweets every time I upload a picture. Do you see where I’m going here?

A good percentage of my Tweets will soon be auto-generated by other services that I use. My Twitter account is taking “what are you doing” to the next level and not even requiring me to tell it what I’m doing. It just hooks into everything else and does the rest.

Twitter is becoming less of a social network and more of a social infrastructure. Entire new startups are popping up that use Twitter as an underlying platform. There’s a shifting trend away from using APIs and instead just hooking up services via twitter. It’s insanely easy to post to and read from Twitter, and posting publicly even builds more awareness for your application; so why not use Twitter instead of a private back end connection?

It won’t be long until a good percentage of everybody’s tweets will be auto generated from some other service. What will happen to Twitter then? Will we still monitor it the way we do now, or will we simply rely on some other application to pull in the data and filter it for us? I’m betting the latter.

It’s only a matter of time before everything in my house is Tweeting. The TV will tell you what I’m watching, iTunes will tweet what I’m listening to, Xbox will tweet my kill/death ratio in Call of Duty, and Graywolf’s oven will tweet what’s cooking and how long until it’s done.

In fact, I wonder how hard it would be to hook up a wifi card and volume displacement gauge to my Toilet…..


  1. A possible future business model for Twitter in this light would be to follow the managed asset reflation path taken by amazon and sell the infrastructure itself to mediate between other services.

    I’ve said before that if Twitter really wanted to make money, what they should charge for is access to the API.

    Comment by Michael Martine — January 11, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

  2. This is a great article. I was thinking along the same line last week. I have begun to add more applications to my phone that auto-tweet to Twitter and wondered how many more would be created. Then it would come to a point where we would no longer need to log onto Twitter to tell people where we are, what we are doing, what we are reading, eating, etc.

    Comment by Kristin Dziadul — January 11, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

  3. Actually it looks like the treadmill at the Gym may be the next thing that starts tweeting for you:


    Comment by Ryan — January 12, 2010 @ 12:06 am

  4. Kristin, that’s part of the problem for twitter. Once our tweets reach a certain percentage that are automated, people won’t care to read them. If I don’t have to logon to twitter or a twitter “deck” to post, why would I log on to read? – especially when all of your tweets are just posted by various objects you interact with?

    Ideally there will eventually be one status page that incorporates all of those statuses in one place – but we’re not there yet. I talk about that in my previous blog post:


    Comment by Ryan — January 12, 2010 @ 12:08 am

  5. I wholeheartedly expect a profitable part of my business will be creating applications that communicate across Twitter within a few months.

    I think we need to be regarding Twitter as another infrastructure – like the phone line – capable of carrying ‘voice’ in the form of person to person Tweets’ and ‘data’ in the form of software to software / software.

    Comment by Joe Pritchard — January 12, 2010 @ 10:12 am

  6. Hey Ryan, great stuff and i have bee wondering future of Twitter too;-)and very much similar thoughts with you. When i started last september, since then my use of tweetin has change a lot, i use new tools and i found many useful things. My followings and followers has changed almost totally:-Dbut finally i really dig tweetin;-)so we will see what is coming in the future;-)

    Comment by MattiPartonen — January 12, 2010 @ 10:41 am

  7. I can see the point you’re making but I’ve already had friends banned because too much of their timelines were *auto* or aggregated junk & fillers. Twitter has already stated that those types of accounts will be marked as SPAM so how can people keep their accounts and yet tweet even their toilet trips? There will need to be a certain amount of “real” tweets or else you won’t have an account to connect..

    Comment by GrrlTragic — January 12, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

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