over 10 years on 2008-05-01


my new thesis on why twitter is powerful is centered on the concept that it is the only digital unidirectional moniker/id.

to explain, almost all identification parameters have become multi-directional in the digital world.  if i list my email address somewhere online as a format of identification i am opening myself to others mailing me back (spam, etc).   same thing with phone numbers, physical addresses, im accounts, etc.  almost any unique identifier i might use to ‘sign’ a piece of media is not only a form of attribution but also a way to contact me (a back-link).

twitter is the only mass form of uni-directional attribution/signature.  i can put my twitter moniker  (@lessin) anywhere i please with no worry that it will result in spam (since direct messaging is only possible if i follow the person).  it is just an identifier, not a communicative back-link.*

this is actually what makes twitter such a powerful marketing vehicle (whether or not they intended it to work this way).  since there are limited/no back-link repercussions to anyone knowing my twitter name i am willing to share/mass distribute my moniker anywhere and everywhere, and that allows it to both be an effective identifier and to propel twitter’s visibility and use

*facebook accounts have some similar properties, but lack the single moniker model (my name is not a uid/personal identifier). facebook connect might qualify is an attempt to bring their semi-uids outside of their own platform, but it requires relatively deeper integration by service providers…

original swl blogposts and letters 2007-2010