Thursday, April 12, 2007

Twitterverse: A Universe of Possibilities

I'm a really big fan of the now defunct TV series, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. And anyone who's a fan will immediately recognize the term 'Buffyverse.'

So when the folks at announced the launch of their appropriately named Twitter mashup,, I immediately went to take a look.

A lot of people have already blogged about what Twitterverse is, so I don't intend to describe it in this entry.

Instead, I'd rather focus on ideas about where Twitterverse can go from here, now that it's been launched. Below are some things that I think have real potential, assuming that Obvious allows Ideacodes to monetize this goldmine of data.

1. Twitterverse Personal

Service Description. Allows a registered Twitterverse user to see the equivalent tagcloud for himself or for his friends. The Twitterverse user can also specify which friends to ignore (such as newsbots) for his personal tag cloud.

2. Twitterverse Alert Service

Service Description. Allows a registered Twitterverse user to specify a set of keywords that they'd like to track. A copy of all tweets that contain that keyword or set of keywords is sent to the user via email at the end of every day. It's like Google Alerts, but the search is limited to tweets. Use cases: brand managers tracking chatter about their products, a celebrity tracking gossip about himself, or a Twitter user looking for @username messages.

Revenue Opportunity. Free alerts for low volume or simple keyword alerts. Charge people who track a lot of keywords, or require complicated keyword combinations.

Improvements Required
. More sophisticated search features, such as searching by multiple keywords or by excluding keywords.

3. Geographic User Search

Service Description. Allows a registered Twitterverse user to search for other Twitter users in a given zipcode, city, or country based on available geographic information.

Revenue Opportunity. Provide user lists for free if within one city or zipcode only. Charge for Twitter-wide user and usage statistics broken down by country, by city, by zipcode. Charge for actual list of users if it's for multiple zipcodes or cities.

4. Meme Visualization

Service Description. Ability to visualize a meme as it travels through your network of friends, or within the Twitter community at large. Entails taking the results of the keyword search, sorting it by time, and seeing how the meme travels between Twitter users.

Revenue Opportunity. Free meme visualization for low volume or simple keyword alerts. Charge for complicated keyword combinations, or for Meme tracking over prolonged periods of time.

Improvements Required. Data visualization graphs.

5. Twitter UserRank (a.k.a. Twitterholic+)

Service Description. Ranks all Twitter users according to a Twitter UserRank algorithm, to help advertisers and marketers identify the most influential Twitter users for a given area of interest. Twitter UserRank can be determined through some combination of:

  • number of active followers
  • number of active users who have be-friended them (but are not following them)
  • number or percentage of tweets that others have tagged as favorite
  • duration of Twitter use
  • most recent Twitter use
  • meme influence (see #4 above)
Revenue Opportunity. Show each registered Twitterverse user his own TwitterRank for free. Sell the "Most Influential Twitter Users by UserRank" list to any advertiser, marketer, journalist, company who's willing to buy.

Improvements Required. Ability to segment Twitter user base by interest, e.g., Babies, Cooking, Design, Investments, Movies, Restaurants, Technology, and so on, so that the "Most Influential" list can be segmented by area of interest.

What do all of these ideas have in common?

These service ideas are all variations of the same theme: the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Enough naysayers have already dismissed Twitter as nothing more than trivial chatter. As the userbase grows, I imagine it will become increasingly difficult to find truly interesting people and messages.

Perhaps Twitterverse can provide the solution to this problem, and make some moolah in the process.

A final note: to keep up with Twitterverse developments, simply follow them on Twitter, or subscribe to their blog.