Sunday, April 5, 2009


Among hype about everything Twitter, one that caught my eye recently was Tinker.

It is a simple idea but extremely powerful in its ability to go viral. It is based on searches on Twitter and people create Events and provide keywords that might be used in tweets talking about that event to find tweets about that Event. Their website, of course, will show-and-tell you more.

These "Events" have a much larger scope than just real-life events that seem to be the focus at the moment. Essentially, discussions involving any entity can be tracked using the appropriate keywords. I really like how Tinker has packaged a simple use of the Twitter Search API - making it viral through widgets and a community. It is also mind-bogglingly easy to find events and track them - browsing and a click will suffice for the popular events. Most people using Twitter would be tech-savvy enough to be able to search using the right keywords and add the resulting feed to their feedreaders. But the concept of sharing "Events", finding those created by other users is very cool.

Something Twitter ought to have done already?

And this question re-inforces my belief that Twitter is a platform. But does it think and behave like one? In its quest for a business model, perhaps not. How about letting others in this ecological system find the business models and share revenue?

Coming back to Tinker. Play around with for 5 minutes and you will see that it just displays tweets that match certain keywords. And raises the question: what does Tinker not do. It does not make it easy for you sift through the numerous tweets about an event and glean information from there. Which, I would assume, is crux of the problem.

And since that is not enough food for thought, do not miss reading where Zach Gemignani talks about analytics as opposed to just metrics and shows some very interesting things he's done with the Twitter data.

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