Twitter’s Business Model Innovation

In an excellent article on the impact of twitter on the Arab Spring revolutions, Blake Hounshell makes an important point about twitter itself:

But five years since its founding, Twitter has hit a critical mass of activists and casual observers on the ground, journalists in the office and in the field, and analysts behind their desks. Twitter today is always buzzing with news, ideas, rumors, speculation, and juicy gossip. (It was Twitter itself that understood this shift from vanity tool to news platform earlier than anyone else, when in November 2009 it changed its prompt from “What are you doing?” to “What’s happening?” One of the fastest ways to tell whether someone’s not worth following is if they’re still answering that first question.)

This is true in politics, and it is true in other fields as well (on a related point, you can also tell which critiques of twitter aren’t worth reading – they are the ones that criticise the stream of tweets answering the “what are you doing question”). It is certainly the case that there is a thriving discussion of innovation on twitter now too.

If you think about it, that change in question actually represents a business model innovation on the part of twitter. Once the question being answered changes, so does the value being created.

And once the value created changes, you have a new business model.

If changing one small question can change the business model for twitter, what might change the business model for your organisation?

It’s a question worth thinking about…

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.