Twitter's economic model?

That is.. make fun or snicker at Twitter’s lack of an obvious economic model.

Nearly everyone I talk to that has any sort of intersection with Twitter loves to talk about the company’s apparent lack of an economic model.  I think that’s a bit shallow and overplayed.

My $0.02

1. If a tweet falls in the forest and no one is around to read it, does it matter?

This is probably the largest barrier to a clear economic model.  I wonder what the “tweet read” stats are?  Subscribers and Tweets are 2 underlying components, but they miss the critical point of how value is conveyed.

2. Ads in Twitter search (summize) is dumb

When affinity gets too close the potential for clicking on an advertisement diminishes.  This is the problem with MySpace or Facebook Ads.  Its also the reason Ads in IM don’t work.

3. The beauty of Twitter in all its various access forms/applications is the Achilles heel.

The open-ness of the platform is its beauty and its power.  Multiple inputs, multiple outputs, open and free to everyone.  Awesome! but all that comes with a giant elephant in the room.

My experience may be a-typical, but I see Twitter as an incredibly powerful tool for:

1. Mass one-directional communication

Imagine, companies, emergency services, municipalities, soccer moms, cycling clubs, whatever.  There are real communication needs here – economics can’t be far behind.

2. Customer service

We use Twitter for customer service, outreach, responding to inquiries, etc.  It’s incredibly effective – and immediate.  Again, huge value for companies and brands that care about what people are saying.

3. Innocuous contact

I’m not sure how much business development, networking, or job seeking starts on Twitter, but I think a lot.  Unlike other forms of communication, Twitter enables people who don’t know each other to strike up a conversation in passing.  It can grow, but it starts with a ‘curve of the earth’ high-level contact.

oh yeah… one final reason I think most people tweet: Wasting time.  How many people (really) tweet just to pass a dull moment?

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