For a service (I hesitate to call it a business, most businesses at least have a vague idea of how to make money, though more on that later) that I don’t really like I seem to spend a lot of time writing about Twitter but with the news that they have managed to convince yet more VC’s to invest (another $35million apparently) I am drawn back like a moth to a flame. Of course most of the discussion about this latest funding round has revolved around how the investors are ever going to see a return on this investment given the semi mythical nature of a business model. According to the Biz Stone on the official Twitter blog
We are now positioned extremely well to support the accelerating growth of our service, further enable the robust ecosystem sprouting up around Twitter, and yes, to begin building revenue-generating products. Throughout this year and beyond, our small team will grow much bigger to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.
and to this end they recently hired Kevin Thau to head up the business side of the operation. His plan, use the flow of information as the data feed for an analytics platform. Now from my point of view that sounds like an excellent plan (we had customers ask about mining twitter recently) and its certainly a better one than relying on shaky web advertising models, but will the users of twitter let the data that they are creating be used that way. You just need to look at the explosion of complaints this week when Facebook had the audacity to change their TOS to allow them to keep your content if you leave (they already own all the content when you are on the site, a fact most commentators seemed to have missed) to see how the users of Social Media think you owe them for creating something that they use. How do you think Twitter users are going to react if the same sort of thing happens to them. Could be very messy, definitely something to watch with interest.