Twitter is the eye of the needle

if your Bible reading is a little rusty, you may not remember the eye of the needle quotation. It reads as follows:

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
For the last two centuries it has been common teaching in Sunday School that there is a gate in Jerusalem called the eye of the needle through which a camel could not pass unless it stooped and first had all its baggage first removed. After dark, when the main gates were shut, travellers or merchants would have to use this smaller gate, through which the camel could only enter unencumbered and crawling on its knees! Great sermon material, with the parallels of coming to God on our knees without all our baggage.

As the text goes on to say, it is a lovely story and an excellent parable for preaching but unfortunately unfounded!

Nevertheless the quotation came to mind on hearing that GasPedal is presenting the BlogWell Seminar on How Big Companies Use Social Media – October 28th, 2008. The seminar features Cisco Systems, Graco, The Home Depot, Intel, Kaiser Permanente, UPS, Wells Fargo and Walmart.

Twitter is perhaps the epitome of a social system. It is simple and direct and with only 140 characters and spaces, you have got to keep your message simple. It struck me that this is an extension of the process set in hand by the ClueTrain Manifesto. That leveled the playing field and has meant that consumers have much greater power relative to suppliers in this Internet age. Of course the suppliers could arrange to have very complete websites to try to wow the customers. It’s much more difficult to do that in 140 characters and spaces. That is how the Internet is evolving. It is all about two-way communication rather than one-sided monologues.


It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall at the Blog Council.

The Blog Council is a forum for the heads of corporate blogging and social media at the largest corporations in the world. The Blog Council brings together all of these people to explore issues and share best practices with one another in a productive and private environment.

With the increasing democratization of the Internet through all of these social media, those heads of corporate blogging and social media have quite a challenge on their hands.

Why The Average Joe Doesn't Blog

Tom, Dick and Joe may not blog but many others do.

Victor Keegan in the Guardian today says To the average Joe, blogs aren’t cutting it. His article is somewhat downbeat about the state of the blogosphere. He acknowledges that there’s quite a bit of activity.

This month’s state of the blogosphere survey by Technorati, the monitoring service, was greeted as if it were the online equivalent of the President’s State of the Union address. It undoubtedly reveals a fascinating array of statistics and confirms that blogging – the writing of online journals – is continuing to expand, albeit more slowly than before, and is still a force to be reckoned with.

According to Technorati, the number of weblogs has risen to 70m compared with 35m some 320 days ago. But interestingly, only a third of these are English-language blogs. This is a great tribute to the way other languages have populated the space, led by the Japanese with an astonishing 37% of all blogs.

Nevertheless Mr. Keegan feels it shows only a small fraction of the English-speaking world is actually writing blogs, even if they may be reading them. It’s all a somewhat ‘Glass Half-Empty’ kind of view. Perhaps it’s not surprising coming from a newspaper journalist.

For the ‘Glass Half-Full’ view, you should turn to the author of that Technorati Survey, Dave Sifry, as reflected in a blog post, The State of the Live Web, April 2007. There’s much to marvel at in what he writes but here’s a small taste:

Technorati is now tracking over 70 million weblogs, and we’re seeing about 120,000 new weblogs being created worldwide each day. That’s about 1.4 blogs created every second of every day.

So why such a difference in viewpoint. One key factor is that long tail nature of the Web. We’re not talking Mass markets here. Most people don’t blog so neither does the average Joe. But even a tiny percentage of people in a micro-niche of a market can make connections and interrelate in a meaningful and self-sustaining way. That tiny percentage when applied to a huge population perhaps spread over several continents can still amount to a sizeable audience. There’s the attraction in blogging. It works and that’s why it will continue to grow, particularly as it expands into the Mobile web opened up by that huge population of cellphones.