If It Ain’t Broke…

Courtesy AdAge.com – Twitter is raising a massive $100 million round of funding from seven sources, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Twitter, which has already raised $55 million, has become a valuable resource for brands, both big, national ones and local ones, and can act as both a broadcast and a listening tool.
View the full article at: http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=139265

My response (in apropos tweet format) is twofold:

What should Twitter do with $100M? http://bit.ly/F6MMX Don’t fix what ain’t broke!
http://twitter.com/larissayoung/status/4375704644

Twitter is a word-of-mouth communications tool & is fine as-is. You know who needs $100M? Poor/starving/sick people. NOT TWITTER.
http://twitter.com/larissayoung/status/4375730813

I realize that they are a business, and will need constant revenue. Let’s look at the basics.
First, on their website, they say, “Twitter has many appealing opportunities for generating revenue but we are holding off on implementation for now because we don’t want to distract ourselves from the more important work at hand which is to create a compelling service and great user experience for millions of people around the world. While our business model is in a research phase, we spend more money than we make.”

Compelling service? Yes, Twitter can be habit-forming. This is why celebs are tweeting about nothing (SOMETIMES IN ALL CAPS), pseudo-celebs are tweeting for stardom, marketing folk & social media gurus are tweeting about tweeting, and bored teens are tweeting horribly misspelled past lunch experiences. This is why iPhones and Blackberries mention Twitter in their 30 second ad spot. This is why businesses are creating Twitter accounts, this is why spammers are getting banned as fast as they appear, and this is why everyone thinks life is described 140 characters at a time.

This ties in with Marketing, which is pretty straightforward at the moment: Twitter (along with the various monikers of it) is a near-household name. People mock it, enjoy it, hate it, love it, but the popularity has skyrocketed.

Great customer experience? It’s a simple yet powerful platform for many types of people, so overall, yes. Except for when the Fail Whale appears.

Server/bandwith/hosting costs? Okay, that will need to be paid for. The service is currently not ad-supported, so perhaps small ads built into the web browsers could be something new, which might cover their cost on that if they cap it at 10 advertisers a year (for example). These would be prime/coveted positions, and also manage to be unobtrusive.

Employee pay? They have a small crew that seems to be productive and happy. Location, perks, benefits all seem to be good. It’s about what you’d expect from a small company, except that they have almost entirely changed the world of communication as we know it. (Hit up http://twitter.com/jobs for more info.) These guys came from Google, Blogger, Xanga, CNET, AOL, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and more, so you know they know what’s up – and expect/deserve to be compensated accordingly.

Looking past all that, Twitter is a small business with a huge current-event megaphone, and they’re doing well, so they do need revenue to keep going. That, I understand.

But $100 million? What are they planning on doing? I honestly hope it doesn’t involve trying to fix what isn’t broken. As much as all the social media folks, marketing directors, Google Gurus and trendy people want the extra bells and whistles, do we, the Normal People, the ones who helped make it what it is, really need all that?

Just leave it alone, Twitter. It’s fine. (Except maybe you could build a little habitat for the fail whale to hang out in, because he really doesn’t need to show up quite so often.)

The Kindle

So.

Kindle.

I am not familiar with the history behind that name, or much else with that product besides it being an e-book reader. (Researching it will make me want one even more.) The response to this product has reminded me greatly of the thoughts from when mp3 players started to arrive on the scene. People really enjoyed the fact that they could carry their whole music library on a tiny portable machine and listen at their leisure. They kept buying CDs (many people still do), but mp3 players offered convenience.

The Kindle will never replace the feel of an actual library. Growing up, I had the pleasure of living nearby several libraries – beautiful architecture, high ceilings, a silence that was almost holy, and the calming sensation that only libraries can produce. There was something about all those books waiting quietly, sitting for years in sunlight and dust motes. The atmosphere bled knowledge, a pure sense of entertainment, and an almost Gothic tranquility.

These days, libraries are still pleasant places to spend hours browsing or studying, but the ones I’ve visited in California have lost something in translation. That sense of calm is still there, along with the nice touch of being able to read for free, but there is a definite lean towards a modern and more digital route. As nice as the Internet is, I honestly wish today’s youth was a little less technologically inclined.

For those of you who love books and libraries as much as I do, the Kindle appears to be able to bring the sensations home in a semi-convenient package. This would work very well for those with lengthy commutes (who are able to read and not get motion-sick), or those with casual desk jobs that want to catch up on their reading without having to always carry various books around. Yes, I understand you’ll still be physically holding something, but it’s different.

The only thing that worries me is the potential for ad intrusion. Once we move into territory where Kindle downloads are highly popularized we may start seeing things along the lines of “Download this free e-book, paid for by our sponsors”, and then have the print (on your screen) reformatted to fit various ads. Perhaps add in an extra page here and there that is a full-page ad. I know you get what you pay for (or don’t pay for), but these sorts of things seem to be always out there.

What prompted my entry was the following article on the NYTimes blog, “The Kindle Lets Amazon Make a Lot From the Few”.

They’re right: this definitely won’t overtake physical book buying, and I doubt libraries have much to worry about, it’s just – as they put it – the right product for the right customers. Now if only someone would buy me one so I can test and review it properly!

Bookmarks and coffee

Cereal.
Coffee.

At work, consuming both, and taking a moment to myself before heading into the plethora of tasks ahead of me. Though I enjoy my Sundays off – allowing myself to overindulge on laziness, cuddling, and day-long brunch – being in the office isn’t bad either. It’s usually quiet enough to get real work done and consider a Plan Of Action for various projects. That doesn’t mean I want to spend all my Sundays here, it means that the rare times I have to come into the office aren’t completely horrendous.

Plus I get Monday & Tuesday off.

iGoogle is my homepage here, and one of my favorite widgets is the “Most Recent Public Bookmarks” provided by del.icio.us. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) it tosses up a great one, and today was no exception.

Here it is.

Booooooom.com gives you 17 Creative Websites To Bookmark (Unless You Are Dumb).

Just like it says – unless you are dumb. Mimes are excluded in this case.

I skimmed the list, got about a page deep into Meathaus and immediately closed my browser because it was causing me to go into Artsy Mind Convulsions. A quick scan of the other sites proved much of the same.

Give yourself some awesome – GO TO THESE SITES.

Anyway, back to Cup 2 of coffee, and using my destruct-o rays on the disaster that is my inbox. Happy Sunday, kids.

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