YES: Twitter Is “The Future of Media”
Ben Parr thinks Twitter is the future of media. He says it twice in this recent blog post about Saudi Prince Al-waleed bin Talal investing $300 million into the company: “The Prince knows that Twitter is the future of media, and he wants to make sure he has some influence in its development. … The Prince understands the influence of media and can see that Twitter is the future of media.”
I have to wonder how long Twitter can continue to capitalize on the 160-character limit of standard text messages, created by communications researcher Friedhelm Hillebrand. With all the advances in technology, aren’t we ready to abandon such archaic limits on how much data can be sent in a text message?
Well, the reality is there are over 5 billion mobile phones in use worldwide. But the actual number of smartphones — capable of handling larger amounts of data — is still only a fraction of this number. I wrote about this explosion of global mobile phone use in my chapter for the Wikiklesia book, which at the time (2007) boasted these stats:
59% of mobile phone users are in developing countries, making cellphones the first telecommunications technology in history to have more users there than in the developed world.
Africa is the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world; growing almost twice as fast as any other region. While only 200,000 households in Kenya have electricity, there are already 7 million mobile phone users.
As long as mobile phones that are not smartphones dominate the world market — and as long as the GSM keeps the SMS standard the same — Twitter will be the platform for extending and broadcasting these short messages onto the Web, social media, and beyond. (Sorry, Plurk!) And that is definitely an important part of the future of media, if not the whole kit and kaboodle.