Anywhere, Nowhere and Everywhere in Between

Businesswoman Looking Suspiciously at LaptopIf social media has taught us anything, it’s that describing platforms and apps as being ‘of the moment’ and ‘the next big thing’ are as common as having a Facebook profile.  While I am typically intrigued to hear about the new and better that lay around the corner, my threshold for the teasing and waiting are minimal at best.  Consequently, the announcement of Twitter’s Anywhere left me looking everywhere on the web for details that were to be found nowhere.

A succinct post on Twitter’s blog offered minimal insight.   Focused heavily on the conceptual aspects of the new open platform and walking readers through the rationale behind it, I was craving the when (not just a ‘mid April,’ but a March 27th at 10:01:35a.m. EST level of detail) and wanting the answer to be ‘now.’ I was also left wondering why I needed tweet access on other websites, especially e-commerce sites such as Amazon.  Apparently, I’m deeply tied to my habit of starting on Twitter and clicking through to a website and am shutoff to trying the inverse. When I read Gini Dietrich’s post on Anywhere I was comforted to see my exact thoughts in the closing line “What am I missing?” (I also agree with Gini that it sounds like a glorified RSS feed.)

Clearly, my curiosity and desire to learn more are just what Twitter is looking for; people who will eagerly anticipate and seek out information on Anywhere. But what they may not realize is that when I can’t find the information I want and am told to wait, I move on.  I am by no means the type to preorder an iPhone or iPad and countdown to its debut. I am the type who files it in the back of my mind and waits to see what really happens. If my interest is sustained, then I may buy-in when the time comes. But let’s be honest – those times are a rarity. It is likely that tweets such as ‘stay tuned’ and ‘more news coming in April’ aren’t sufficient to satisfy my curiosity and sustain my interest.

My rambling aside, there must be a point to this, right?  (Well, at least we hope there is.)  How many platforms and apps can we sustain? Do any, and if so which, need to die off before we can rally behind the next big thing? Lastly, when is too soon to start teasing? (Yes, I understand the SXSWi timing. . .no comment.) Whether you are a brand, platform or app, you can’t assume that consumers will wait indefinitely for the pertinent details. So how do you tease effectively and time it appropriately without turning off your audience?

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  • keithtrivitt

    Danielle – You bring up some really interesting points, ones that I have been pondering as well for some time now. At some point, when are we going to say, “Enough! No more platforms, no more interconnectivity. Just leave it the way we like it for a while!” I think Facebook is a very good example of this. Time and time again, heavy users of Facebook have howled whenever even minor cosmetic or technological changes are made to the site, seemingly demonstrating that they actually know what they want and like about the site, and yet, Facebook just isn't listening to them.

    The question I have for Twitter is: Do people actually want it's 'Anywhere'? Was there a great need for this? My biggest beef with Twitter is that it constantly seems to be six months behind third-party apps that have been offering the usability and intriguing aspects of Twitter that make it more enjoyable to use. And for some reason, each time Twitter does roll something new out, they do so with little explanation of how and why their new development is so much different and better than the third-party apps the public already uses.

    So, in the end, what's the point?

  • http://twitter.com/PRSoapbox Colleen Campbell

    LOVE this post, Danielle! I agree the constant switches and changes to social media platforms with minimal or in some cases no rational explanation, causes users concern and sometime angst. This seems, however, to be a norm when it comes to change in services. In addition to Twitter and Facebook, look at the way Google rolls out new services and applications to users. The recent “Buzz” incident comes to mind. I think the teaser announcements in the technology space may have reached a time when some companies need a reminder that it's not enough to announce that “something new is coming” and expect customers and other relevant stakeholders to continuously build buzz for them without a relevant sustainable communications plan and outreach. As you point out, additional information needs to be forthcoming and explanations provided to keep the audience engaged and informed about a new service (or product) roll-out. If not, people will just as you accurately state “move on” wondering what the point was and if a change is actually going to occur. IMHO, Companies that do the buzz announcement well have more success long-term with keeping and maintaining users/customers.

  • ginidietrich

    Obviously you know I agree with you, and I have yet to figure out the real meaning of @anywhere. I feel kind of sorry for Twitter. They have a gadzillion eyeballs, which means they have access to any funding they need, but they haven't yet figured out a) how to launch something new that makes BUSINESS sense and b) how to monetize what they do have. Perhaps they should ask their power users what they think. That is, after all, the whole idea of Twitter, is it not?

    http://twitter.com/ginidietrich

  • ginidietrich

    Obviously you know I agree with you, and I have yet to figure out the real meaning of @anywhere. I feel kind of sorry for Twitter. They have a gadzillion eyeballs, which means they have access to any funding they need, but they haven't yet figured out a) how to launch something new that makes BUSINESS sense and b) how to monetize what they do have. Perhaps they should ask their power users what they think. That is, after all, the whole idea of Twitter, is it not?

    http://twitter.com/ginidietrich

  • http://twitter.com/SparkfireMarket Karen Rocks

    Great post Danielle, and it sums up my feelings as well. I really don't think Twitter teased us with @anywhere, I felt it was more a “ding dong ditch” approach. And we are left there with the door wide open, looking around and no one is there.

    Twitter has so much potential and has opened up many new relationships for me. But I feel as though there are many holes in their business, many of which could be solved by listening/communicating with their users.