Monday, March 15, 2010

Twitter @anywhere invades the web

At the veritable birthplace of Twitter, the SXSW conference in Austin, TX, Evan Williams announced his Next Big Thing. It's a proliferation of the Twitter instant micro-blog platform, a spreading of the interactive functionality to popular websites. Without "going to Twitter", you'll be able to engage in a Twittery online feedback and community functionality.

@anywhere -- the merging of Twitter with the mainstream web world.

Each participating company that features @anywhere will probably design the new communicative community tool to its own unique requirements, hopefully based on what customers want to do, or have been doing already, in another fashion.

The clients signed up for the launch of this service include Huffington Post, Amazon, AdAge, Bing, Citysearch, Digg, eBay, Meebo,, The New York Times,, Yahoo!, and YouTube.

The example given is being able to Twitter about a YouTube video, as you watch it, without interrupting your viewing of the video. Or click on the byline of a newspaper article and Following the writer on Twitter.

Integrating this fast, brief message service as a simultaneous experience as you view a website. making it easy to Twitter about something you discover, a product or a problem, on a popular site, this could have an downside as well as an upside.

How will the companies who integrate a Twitterish widget into their site deal with the spam, abuse, or complaints that may be generated? Will it be moderated? Will representatives respond to the customers or random visitors using the interactive tool?

Will questions be answered, orders taken? Will the stream of 140 character remarks be distracting to those who don't care for any conversations, and just want to conduct their normal business at the site?

This is a natural evolution of internet tech oriented toward people relating to each other and to corporate entities.

First came the internet, as a science research tool.

Then came tech blogoid objects, the early textual weblogs (logs on the web) of Robot Wisdom, Doc Searls, and Tim Berners-Lee, the "What's Next" pages.

Next came the commercial websites. All you could do is stare at them and buy stuff, basically.

In reaction to the monolithic, impersonal ecommerce and corporate presence websites, arose the mighty personal blogs, via LiveJournal, Xanga, Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, MySpace, and Facebook.

Finally, we saw Twitter and the other micro-blog platforms appear, offering faster, shorter, more spontaneous interactions between people, who linked to fuller, more complex blog posts when the topic was too large for 140 character bursts.

It took a long time for business to awaken to the fact that blogs enhance corporate credibility and can be used to increase customer satisfaction, by sharing expertise, announcing specials, and interacting with the public.

It'll be interesting to watch the problems and opportunities that @anywhere will generate in the realm of commerce.

Could your business add a SMS (small message service) functionality to your blog or corporate website?

Something to think about, for sure, since this format and platform is steadily growing in popularity. The very least you should do is start a Twitter account and use it as a way to gain fans, interact with customers, share expertise, link to your blog posts and videos, and let people contact you.

Social media - - the web's not just for sales hype and propaganda anymore.

Will @anywhere force corporations to invest more time, money, and effort into online customer relations? Let's hope so.


@anywhere article on Huffington Post

@anywhere on Twitter

@anywhere Official Announcement on Twitter blog

@anywhere article on Mashable


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