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Regressive Expressions (or Please Don't Use Twitter like a Billboard)


[From the always awesome XKCD]

One of the first things that happens when a new medium emerges is a form of communication transpostion - taking a model from a different platform and applying it to the new one.

When television first came online [excuse the garbled metaphor] programs consisted of people talking directly to camera - or radio on the television.

[This is different to Nokia's visual radio. Or maybe it's not. It's hard to know what visual radio is supposed to be.]

This is because new media allow new ways of communicating and we don't understand what they are to begin with.

I was talking about this with Noah at the Boards Summit.

The interesting thing about Twitter isn't necessarily what the inventors thought it would be.

It's not a microblogging platform - it's a microbroadcast platform.

The status updates give you a way to have conversations among a few hundred people in real time - something that simply wasn't possible before.

We are finding ways to actively communicate with larger social groups - technology is pushing up Dunbar's number, suggesting it may have been a practical, not cognitive limit.

Or that it can't account for the different kinds of relationships facilitated by social media and that.

Or something.

And that's really interesting.

[Brands are obsessed about having relationships with consumers. Ignoring that fact that very people want {or think they want} relationships with brands, they are never very clear about what kind of relationship they want.

Lover? Brother? Mother? Friend? Partner? Confidant? Adviser? Servant? Guest? Acquaintance? Nemesis? Mentor? Pal? Crony? Partner? Sidekick?]

The fact that you can microbroadcast phatic affection enables the formation of larger number of weak social ties. Or something.

It's difficult to know the right way to use emerging things. They are too visible, too new.

They are perhaps allowing the formation of new kinds of relationships: thinner relationships with people who we like and who like the stuff we like, who we want to keep up with but don't necessarily want to see very often or actively interact except maybe once in a while when we know they could help us out and vice versa because they are awesome at something we can't do and vice versa.

Which actually sounds like the kind of relationship I'd consider having with a brand.

But we probably shouldn't treat them as new billboard inventory.