I Will Not Be Your Twitter Whore

There’s a lot of uptake on Twitter in recent months. The service that allows folks to tell the world what they are doing in 140 charachters or less has become the new playground of marketing types looking for the next big thing. Now let me say that I love Twitter. I love finding out what my Twitter friends are up to whether it’s a new aspirations or what they really think about a topic.

The great thing about Tweets like this is that it makes you feel like you know the person on the other hand. It’s a vast global playground where people are swinging on swings and sliding down slides and just having fun. They are having conversation.

We had this big global conversation a few years back when marketers were trying to figure out how to leverage this new blogging fad. It was so raw and real, and folks were transparent. It challenged traditional PR types to think differently. The problem is that these same PR folks may have learned about blogging but instantly regress to old habits in other forms of Web 2.0.

In the end, the conversation is still the important thing.

Lately, Twitter marketers have taken to using this global instant messaging service to promote their products, their political candidates, their new service without much thought to those of us who were on the ground floor of Twitter (defined here as pre-SXSW ’07) and using it for it’s purpose.

Robert Scoble said somewhere that he loved Twitter because it was where he could have a window into the minds of early adopters. And this is true. In the end though, traditional marketing types have failed to realize that it’s not the tool that matters. Use a blog, use Twitter, use MySpace. I don’t care! The tool matters not. What matters is the conversation.

Treating my time and my focus as a cheap trick is not winning me over to your thing. I don’t care if John Edwards is using Twitter. I will not come to your event if I have to see it promoted on Twitter. Period. End of story. I am not your whore. If you want my trime, at least buy me a drink and lets spend some quality time first.

You may use Web 2.0 tools, but Web 2.0 is not the answer to marketing. Conversations and relationships are. Use Twitter for what it was intended.

Dragons in the Yahoo-MySpace Talks

The rumor, as yet unconfirmed, yesterday and today has centered around the possibility that NewsCorp/Fox Interactive is in talks with Yahoo to trade off MySpace in exchange for a 30% stake in the Yahoo Corporation. Given that that would value MySpace at approx $15B, the big winner would be Rupert Murdoch who bought MySpace 2 years ago for $580M.

Raw numbers aside, let’s look at what this deal could potentially do if it were to happen.

  • MySpace video would in the short term still favor Google’s YouTube, however ease of use restrictions will be lifted for Jumpcut videos.
  • Integrate Flickr photo sharing into MySpace and implement Facebook-style tagging of photos
  • Manage Yahoo! Fantasy Sports teams from within MySpace and display results.
  • Manage rights and buy/sell of Yahoo! Music from MySpace and in conjunction with MySpace artists
  • Eliminate Yahoo! 360
  • Allow sharing of MySpace modules to My Yahoo!
  • MySpace messaging via modified Yahoo! Mail
  • Premium MySpace content for folks looking to “hook up” in conjunction with Yahoo! Messenger and Yahoo! Personals
  • Integrated Yahoo! Search in MySpace
  • Integrate MyBlogLog into MySpace to enhance the “Friends” experience
  • Turn the Yahoo! Developers Network Loose on improving MySpace modules and user experience
  • Yahoo turns over 30% of its companies, possibly requiring shareholder approval
  • Increase Yahoo’s News reach via NewsCorp 28 newspapers, 27 of which are not in the United States and enhance other services via NewsCorp’s empire of organizations.

At the end of the day, if the deal happens and if Yahoo! executes well on and fires on every cylinder and if NewsCorp brought internet street smarts to the table (which is no slam dunk), this deal could be a very strong move for both companies. If not, someone is going to look very silly.

Yahoo Could Have Owned Social Networking

Get this. Yahoo owns tons of social networking sites. They own MyBlogLog, Flickr and Del.icio.us. They own Upcoming.org. They own Konfabulator, now known as Yahoo! Widgets which is not social networking but adds features for potential social networking applications. They own Jumpcut, the upstart video platform.

Yahoo partners with Zillow to provide estimates on real estate to Yahoo! Real Estate users. Single handedly, Yahoo dominates the fantasy sports market, a demographic that is fiercely loyal and extensive use type users.

To cap it off, Yahoo could have owned Facebook if it wasn’t for management dropping the ball. Given Facebook’s recent emergence, a $1B investment in Facebook would probably return to Yahoo 3-5 times over in the next 2 years in terms of Facebook valuation.

The problem with Yahoo, of course, is not Yahoo. Yahoo has certainly not helped itself. But as Elise Ackerman at the Merc points out, “…that Yahoo shouldn’t try to out-Google Google“.

Google is the king of search. It is the king of remnant advertising in terms of pure marketshare. It is the king of web-based productivity tools (Gmail, Documents & Spreadsheets, Calendar). Yahoo can’t compete on Google’s turf.

However, they can beef up their social networking and become the king of that niche. Web 2.0 is all about the mashup so Yahoo’s challenge is figuring out how to actually integrate all these social networks they own into a compelling product or group of products.

Incidentally, the buzz today is that Fox Interactive may be in talks with Yahoo to trade off MySpace for a 30% stake in Yahoo. There be dragons in those talks. Watch closely!