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CM Conversations: Evan Williams

By - October 13, 2008

Evan Williams2 Next up in the star lineup of conversants at the CM Summit this week is Evan Williams, the co-founder of Blogger, which Google acquired in 2003, and current co-founder of Twitter, which I’ve written about recently (TweetSense, anyone?).

Evan’s knack for conversational social media applications is obvious, but as Twitter settles into its place as a Web 2 favorite (and punching bag), one key question does remain – what’s the business model? How might Twitter work with marketers? With Blogger, Google saw a model – AdSense (and data, of course). Will lightening strike twice?

Rather than list additional questions here, I thought I’d just open this one up, knowing that Searchblog readers have *a lot* to ask Evan. So…have at it!

Other CM conversants, still eager to hear your questions (the conference starts Weds. morning):

David Rosenblatt (CEO DoubleClick, now at Google)

Laura Desmond (CEO Starcom)

Joel Hyatt (CEO Current)

Last to come (will post later today or Tuesday): Gian Fulgoni, founder Comscore.


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18 thoughts on “CM Conversations: Evan Williams

  1. Instead of ‘polluting’ twitter with ads, wouldn’t make sense to reintroduce the SMS updates for those outside US and Canada and seek to make agreements with network providers for revenue sharing on the incoming SMS flow?

  2. Alun John says:

    John

    I’d be interested to hear which are the third party ‘Twitter applications’ that excite him.

  3. Alun John says:

    John

    ‘d be interested to hear which are the third party ‘Twitter applications’ that excite him.

  4. nmw says:

    John, you and I both asked why twitter is hiding the summize app they acquired. About half a year ago, I noted how it can be used to identify tweet spam. I also like it is easy to track trends. At some point, twitter will have to focus — and it looks very much like it’s primarily marketing, advertising and public relations crowd that’s using it. I find the linear display is quite shallow (and of course that’s one reason so may apps have been built on top of it.

    I guess with all of that preamble, it’s har to focus on one question — but I would ask: is the twitter architecture going to change before year’s end (or at least relatively soon)? If so: in what direction, and why? Ôr here’s another one: what’s in the pipeline WRT getting a pulse of the different kinds of buzz that are spreading? Could twitter develop “channels” such as sports, entertainment, etc.?

    That’s it for now — sorry it was more than 140 chars….

    ;D

  5. Book says:

    At some point, twitter will have to focus and it looks very much like it’s primarily marketing, advertising and public relations crowd that’s using it. I find the linear display is quite shallow also like it is easy to track trends. At some point, twitter will have to focus and it looks very much like it’s primarily marketing, advertising and public relations crowd that’s using it.

  6. tom funk says:

    Can Evan comment on the impact of the election-focused site http://election.twitter.com/ ?

    By presenting a slice of Tweets based on subject matter, the election site feels like more like traditional publishing or broadcasting. Instead of following people I know (or aspire to know), I’m suddenly following a topic I care about, regardless of who’s tweeting.

    Online advertisers love to be able to reach well-defined niches. So my question is whether the segmentation of tweets, on particular topics or “channels”, is part of Twitter’s vision, and whether that would be tied into ad selling?

  7. Twitter is to me the canonical example of “the opportunity of limits.” 140 characters makes it meaningful. What other limits does Evan see out there for others to exploit?

  8. What with election.twitter.com, search.twitter.com, top-search tweets, I think I see a leaning into focused communities as a value-boost for advertising content: a business plan.

    But what I wonder is: how do you plan to feed the pipeline? There need to be a LOT of tweeters to make an ad audience. Coming from IRC, Jabber, AIM, and the like, I think I see an innovative community-formation dynamic in Twitter, applied to an unobtrusive presentation that easily fits into an always-live corner of my attention, but I definitely visit any of those focused communities less often than, for example, I “google” anything. How does Twitter becomes empowering for the tweeters, and even addictive?

  9. Clay Shirky said, “social software is anything that can be spammed”. The web’s been spammed and it costs a lot to work around the spam. Email has been spammed and it’s arguably much less effective now than it was 15 years ago as a result. How long can Twitter stay ahead of the assholes, given that spamming is an incented behaviour in a free medium with many viewers?

  10. Leona Laurie says:

    At SXSW 2008, iJustine did interviews with people in the street as the music crowd, playing on the divide between the IT and music crowds by asking music IT buzzword-laden questions. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHkfSNjPwtI – Twitter comes in at about 1:50)

    I agree with “Book” above about Twitter being flooded with Marketing and PR types, and I wonder whether the company has a plan to actively court other audiences– like the music industry.

  11. Question for Ev:
    Given that so many people are using Twitter to send messages to each other via @ and DM, how do you see Twitter evolving to supplement/displace the role of email.

  12. David Damore says:

    How about creating a Twitter Business Plan Challenge #TBPC?

    This would allow the large Twitter community to think of IDEAS to increase revenue and profits for Twitter. They would create a business plan [IDEA] for Twitter to execute. Judging would involve a highly distinguished panel of savvy business people [suggested members of the panel include... Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin...]

    This plan could have a big pay off if…
    1. The plan is strategically sound and uncontrolable factors do not adversely affect the results
    2. The plan is executed with precision
    3. The plan successfully drives usage of Twitter in a way that increase revenue and profits and does not increase costs materially.

    Using a contest like this is outside the box. It will draw diverse teams that will develop unique IDEAS for making Twitter more successful.

    Please review this with your brain trust, evaluate the soundness of the IDEA and #MakeItHappen.

    ATB,
    David Damore
    http://twitter.com/Admore

  13. Twitter agency (twitteragency.com) is a crowd sourced agency of 100+ twitterers addressing giving tips and hints on marketing in Twitter.

    I’d like to know how Ev feels about the ecosystem they have created.

  14. Leona Laurie says:

    I’d also like to know about how Twitter’s audience is weighted against the audience in other social media. For example, if someone has 1500 Twitter followers, is that as good as 30,000 blog readers in terms of engagement? Is Twitter tracking things like frequency of visits and how people interact with each other and how long they stay on the site? If I post a message on Twitter, how would the amplification compare to a message posted in a MySpace bulletin?

  15. Book says:

    At some point, twitter will have to focus — and it looks very much like it’s primarily marketing, advertising and public relations crowd that’s using it. 30,000 blog readers in terms of engagement? Is Twitter tracking things like frequency of visits and how people interact with each other.

  16. John,
    When is this interview? I see that the conference starts Wednesday morning, is that when you’ll be interviewing Evan?

  17. @Ed yes it’s this week. Thursday in fact.

  18. Laura says:

    How does the economy impact twitter’s business plan/strategy?
    Twitter has affected this election; could it positively affect the economy – how?

    In the short term, do you think people will be focusing less on learning new applications or has twitter hit a critical mass of adoption?