Robert Scoble had an interesting post in the middle of the night last night discussing the value and behind the scenes growth and potential value of Twitter. While I can't put a finger on the actual valuation, I tend to agree.
Here's the core of why I think Twitter is valuable for businesses:
- It is so open that it is possible to use it to listen to the real-time conversations that are unfolding on the web and leverage it to connect with people who are potential customers or partners for your business (especially with tools that make it easier than the native Twitter site).
- the great APIs have enabled tool developers like CloudProfile to help build business specific applications that unlock the power of Twitter and then help to draw prospects and customers into deeper, more meaningful interactions.
So it's not that Twitter is the be-all-end-all tool. It's just that it is the constantly in motion "front line" of where your business (or your individual) interests can connect with other relevant people in the world who you are not yet connected to. Backed by a powerful platform for then connecting with those people more deeply, it can be a tremendous source of ideas, leads, and fun for you.
And that is super valuable.
As I said in response to Scoble's post:
I completely agree - the APIs have made possible for companies like us at CloudProfile begin to unlock the combined power of Twitter (and Facebook) for small businesses. Our interface is far from perfect, but you can see with our Twitter Radar which is automatically tied to business keywords just what the power of Twitter as a conversational platform for businesses can be. We have seen a breakthrough with very non-techy users in just a few weeks (e.g. http://fourfirkins.cloudprofile.com) who weren't understanding Twitter before, but now "get it" and have begun to find and engage with customers using it after which they draw them into deeper discussions on their profile, FB pages, etc.
It's going to be a super interesting year....