Alright, you’re a VC. Please, explain twitter to me.

Someone asked this question of Fred Wilson, and I am still looking for a solid answer myself. But I did do some digging.

I signed up for twitter, and did one post. I subsequently made my page private until I could figure the thing out. I installed the twitter plugin for this blog site, but haven’t used it. Then I called (novel, eh) ten friends and pointed them to twitter to get their thoughts. The makeup of those contacts was as follows:

  • A commercial banker who deals primarily in real estate development loans
  • A residential real estate agent who deals in middle market (750K to 2MM) properties
  • A credit card processing technology entrepreneur
  • A bond trader from a top-tier firm
  • A software engineer who specializes in mobile and video streaming applications
  • The CFO of a Midwestern retail operation
  • The CEO of a small movie production company
  • A bankruptcy attorney
  • An “angel” investor with three exits under their belt
  • and

  • A stay-at-home mother/former insurance industry executive
  • You know…really dumb people with no money, no job, no family, no track record, no life…real mainstream human beings – that’s who I asked. For the technology-embracing bit, I do know that two use Mac laptops exclusively, two are Blackberry addicts, and one is a desktop instant messaging freak. One is a Windows user that blocks ALL cookies and JavaScript and lives with it. Most use online banking. Three haven’t replied, but here are some of the comments:

  • “I don’t want strangers to know what I am up to every minute of the day, so I’ll keep my profile private and befriend you, but only if you keep your profile private as well.”
  • “I have a Blackberry – I still can’t keep up with my email.”
  • “This is Blackberry on the web, right?”
  • “I have two IM clients already – I don’t need another.”
  • “I’m on a family plan, and my kid uses all the texting.”
  • Nothing really groundbreaking here, but it does give you something of a first impression from the stupid set. The only opinion I can offer so far is that twitter has something of a barrier to entry with the SMS integration, and dealing with SMSCs can be a real pain (so kudos to them). Also, it is probably going to grow like mad with the publicly available API. Will that be enough? Or will it add more noise to an already very noisy idea?

    Still looking for answers…

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