Twitter and the Zeitgeist

I’ve said (and perhaps blogged -- who can remember) that while I find Twittering for its own sake inane, from a societal perspective utility will come when enough people Tweet that a cloud is created to monitor the zeitgeist. So, let’s say a few hundred, or thousand, people give their thoughts on the Pope from inside his talk at Yankee Stadium. Or a bunch of people from a disaster zone (this is not them asking for help -- which is also valid -- but rather getting an idea of the general tenor of a situation): panicked; need help; all’s fine; more food. And so on. Amalgamate them and we can start to get a sense of what folks think or feel, at least feel enough to Tweet.

Today, BuzzMachine pointed to Twisorti, which parses for emotive words like “love” or “believe” or “wish”. It’s a start of the kinds of intelligence that will become the semantic Web. Imagine if the application were smart enough to not only search for specific words, but look at Tweets in general, and see what trends and thoughts are emerging, in general. Cross-reference that with search or SMS messages ... well, you get it; it becomes a read on “society” -- or at least the society that’s using the technology. (And of course, if we want to put our marketing hats on, a way for brands to monitor messages, at some point.) Even better is if and when the cloud can include not just Tweets, but all the bursts from everywhere. Like, whatever becomes the main competitor to Twitter. (Because, as we noted earlier, Twitter has a problem that may hinder its survival.)

No comments: