Physicians, heal thyself. We've all read this somewhere.
This saying came to mind as I read about Twitter's decision to sell our tweets to several companies. And that came on the heels of the news that they agreed to self-censor in certain countries in order to be able to operate in those countries.
These two announcements or news stories, read as if the culture of Twitter is being dominated, more and more, by more and more accountants and attorneys. And decisions around their business model are being made to satisfy the needs of these two constituents.
And there are always conversations about how to generate the cash that sustains a fast growing company, like Twitter. That conversation may be even more critical given Twitter's size and that robust demand made on cash-flows to pay for servers and bandwidth and engineers, coders, etc, etc., and the intensity of the conversation around sustaining cash-flows may be even greater when your original business model was a ..freemium business model.
Paradoxically, oddly, maybe ironically, Twitter is a tool that brings openness and transparency not just to corporate and brand discourse with their public audience, but also to the discourse around civil societies and the freedoms or their lack they embody. See #Iran and #IranElections and ArabSpring and Egypt hashtags on Twitter. Twitter's simplicity and its global reach allowed for streaming, live, realtime crowdsourcing on a global spectrum of topics, from the most mundane to the most vital.
That power has allowed us, Twitter's users, to invite it and us into each other's homes, our businesses, our communities. Twitter and its community of users forms an integral part of our day.
So, it surprises me that Twitter does not eat its own dogfood and crowdsource itself, us, its users, our community...for ideas on how to create sustainable cash-flows in ways more creative than the standard ...sell your users personal data.Or doing business with, supporting, legitimizing despotic leaders who refuse any semblance of openness and transparency for their citizens. (Why does that sound familiar...?)
Imagine if Twitter invited us, its users, to help create an unique business model that generated self-sustaining cashflows while continuing to honor its original mission?
Imagine if they created a hashtag to organize the conversation?
Imagine if their CFO hosted the event? I mean, c'mon if President Obama can be guest on Twitter chat, surely the CFO of Twitter could host one? Doncha think? I do.
Imagine if Twitter organized Twitter chats to occur around the globe at a certain day and hour.
- Monday's at Noon Eastern.
- Tuesdays at Noon Greenwich time,
- Wednesdays at Noon Sydney time....etc?
Would that be fascinating to see the ideas and see the variances from around the world on how to create a sustainable business model?
Imagine if they then moved the conversation to a forum page?
Imagine then they would not need to sell our tweets to unknown 3rd party advertisers?
Imagine they would not need to self-censor in certain countries and thereby continue to provide a real-time streaming global forum for important conversations?
Imagine the global education of Twitter's uses for users, big and small, savvy and newbie? They could witness how the pro's, those at Twitter...their CFO, used Twitter to crowdsource solutions for the most pressing problem of business, any size and in any country: cash-flows.
How many users and their own countries would welcome the chance to learn from the global community of Twitter users?
Twitter, [Crowd-Source] Thyself.