This is what everyone is still talking about here in Austin, while most of us move on…
Monday was a high energy day in Austin at South by Southwest, especially for the interactive track dealing with the emerging interactive web. We are surrounded by ideas to shape the future, and here came the day’s keynote: Twitter CEO Evan Williams. It wasn’t an address; it was an interview with Umair Haque of Havas Media Lab. The digital natives turned restless.
It wasn’t the announcement that rankled some. The feeling here is that the lack of authenticity, lack of details on what most already knew, plus the rehash of earlier Twitter announcements from online sites started, and rehashing of previous statements, is what led to some 15 percent of the several thousand walking out. Are they about to leave Twiter? Heck no. It’s the tool that adds value to their life, let alone their business. But @EV, Williams’ Twitter handle, please don’t waste our time again.
How bad was this? Fast Company starts their story with “In what was likely the most horrifically devastating keynote presentation in SXSW history…”
The Real Announcement: Here’s the REAL Beef
With the new @Anywhere program, web sites will be able to allow users to “add the Twitter experience anywhere on the web,” according to the press release (which had more meat than the keynote). With a little bit of simple code in the sidebar, or elsewhere on the web site, users interact with Twitter content without actually having to visit Twitter.
For example, tweets (posting to Twitter) with solid content will be able to result in more readers, web site users, and become more influential because of the combination of your web site’s content combined with the Twitter stream of content.
How does not going to the Twitter web site actually grow Twitter?
There is a bit of magic called an API. It is tech-magic that allows the functionality on one web site to carry to other sites. It allows those other sites to add greater functionality. It’s why advanced Twitter users can use different web sites that meet their needs better than Twitter itself (such as Tweetdeck, Seesmic and Hootsuite). So yes, Twitter can theoretically have millions fewer users on its site, and yet be used more.
My take: This will facilitate making more content from more web sites available using the Twitter content stream. Businesses or individuals can make their content available from their own web sites to grow their audiences. And make no mistake: Subject matter experts may well be individuals, and that is the reason you need to have an understanding of the social world.
The OTHER Announcement They Didn’t Talk About
Granted, the SXSW audience is among the most influential technology planners covering all fields, but especially marketing, programming, and user experience. What they didn’t talk about was a new Twitter option just turned on that allows geolocation.
Geolocation is using your computer or mobile phone to identify where you are tweeting from. Exactly where. This is an opt in service, for Twitter, but it is already used widely by FourSquare and Gowalla. I’ll talk more about this in my SXSW wrap-up.
This is a key growth area, and is complimentary with the @anywhere platform to enable more local conversations to be empowered, as well as knowing where the conversations are taking place on the New York Times, Huffington Post, Dell and other sites that will start using the new features.
Also yesterday… Adobe and Wired Magazine Announce A New Magazine Format.
While several announcements of new products and services are due later today, Adobe has introduced a new digital concept for magazines for your phone or tablets. It is focused on rich storytelling and narrative art, but also on integrated short film and 360-degree product views. Navigation is by natural hand gestures. You can drill down into the information you are looking for, and this could be the real beginning of the digital magazine. Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief of Wired said in a released video that “This is what we’ve been waiting for, for the last 15-years: The opportunity to use all the visual tools at our disposal to tell stories in a way that is efficient.”
My concern on the demo is that when you have a good working knowledge of the content of the article, you are looking for more advanced content than someone just getting up to speed on the topic. If they nail this, they could, in my view, change how magazines are read.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section.