Obsessive SXSW Twittering aside, I've been thinking a lot about what the "big picture" is there, and today I got a big clue.
For those of you who don't know... Twitter is service that provides an identity layer above texting and a single gateway by which to communicate with friends over SMS. It also extends to the web and IM.
So, I'm ceonyc on Twitter... just like I am everywhere else. If you were my friend, I'd get your texts anytime you texted to 40404.
And if you wanted to directly message me, you'd text "d ceonyc" so it knows to go directly to me... again to 40404.
Well, the site has APIs and RSS feeds, but today they took a really big step. By allowing the "d" function to be part of the API code, they're allowing services to plugin to the system sort of the same way people are trying to use IM bots. The big (and useful) difference is that when I'm sitting on IM, I'm usually at my desktop and don't need a bot's help. But with Twitter, when I'm on my phone, I can just send a note like "d weather 11209" and get my current weather if someone sets up such a service.
So, what we've got is a simple protocol, a controllable identity layer that allows me to control who reaches me, when, where, etc., and a leverageable API... one that businesses can take advantage of to build real services. I mean, who's really going to remember the shortcodes of every business on the planet that wants to be mobile... but if all you need to know is 40404 and a screename, I think you'll see an explosion in Twitter services.
Boy, there's a dream BizDev job...
I think if you wanted to just charge commercial entities to use the service, there's your business model. If there aren't VCs all over this thing, not because all the geeky bloggers use it, but because of its potential to make SMS a real business platform, then they're missing the big picture. What I hope they don't do is raise some ridiculous number like 10 million dollars and try to do everything too fast too quickly.
Evan, I think you've got something. Go raise 2 million to get the servers to operate much faster, hire some more dev folks, and keep plugging away!
You know what's amusing... there's already TwitterSquatting going on. The sports, news, weather, find, local, and where screenames are all taken... empty, but taken.
Now if I could only "bundle" my friends and have each bundle have its own individual settings to be turned on and turned off with one felt swoop, that would be fantastic.