Twitter, social enabling infrastructure…

June 20, 2008

A post continuing my thoughts on Twitter being a social enabling layer and much more than just a new chat program for the masses.  It was prompted by a tweet i saw from Fred Wilson about a Covestor investor he appears to be following…

While I am not going to actually build this (I am busy building something else very cool which will use Twitter as an enabling layer) I think Covestor should and I am going to use the idea as one concrete example of a way I think Twitter can be used as social enabling infrastructure.

So what’s the idea?

Fred tweeted about a sell action (sold RIMM) that a Covestor top investor had taken.  As a user among other possible updates from Covestor I would like to have contextual alerts sent to me when an investor I am following takes a certain action.  Now I am aware Covestor already has an emailing update service in place but I don’t think they should be managing this themselves.

While Covestor has to generate the actual alerts there is no reason for them to create a multi-platform alerting service to deal with the distribution of these alerts; it’s not a core capability so it would be a distraction at best.  To me this is where Twitter is ideally suited and comes in.  They have a multi-platform messaging service in place that is (among other things) ideally suited to alerting and Covestor (and others) could/should leverage it…  

This is just one example of how Twitter’s enabling infrastructure can be leveraged to add a strong social communication tool to a service without having to be experts in this aspect of the business.

Twitter’s systems should allow for updates to be filtered in such a way that certain updates only go to certain clients (i.e. sms, web, email, etc.).  So for example in the Covestor scenario if someone I am tracking is selling a stock I am invested in I would want this alert sent to my phone via SMS as I feel this is “high priority” info but if someone is simply buying a new stock just put it into the web queue.

This was a little bit rambling but it’s been a long week and this captures the gist of what I want to describe. I will have more examples as I go along.


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