How to show your creative side on Twitter?

Josh Chandler · October 3, 2008 · Short URL:

Twitter Themes to be a success?

I picked this new Twitter service from a blog post Orli Yakuel of made yesterday, the service is called "TwitterGallery" and the basic idea of this site is that you can use themes on your Twitter page to make it look more appealing, much like already offers but apart from the obvious creative types will this really appeal too, more often then not I see themes such as Cali Lewis's Twitter page which have a main picture of the person located behind the Twitter updates, this is the most common example.

I think that method represents a much more approachable Twitter page, but this idea of themes isn't really that interesting, admittedly I am looking at this in a very biased manner, but my immediate thoughts are starting to be drawn to how many may not even use the Twitter Web Interface, I know I read my tweets through Twhirl or Twitter search, will the regular non techie users of Twitter however appreciate it because they haven't discovered external apps yet? Or will it be more of a vice versa will users return to the Twitter Web Client to use the service.

My secondary thought to this maybe that new people to Twitter may have fun creating all different types of themes for their page, such as the way people do on Myspace which in my opinion is grossly overdone on some pages, this would be interesting to almost see a little mini theme war happening.

I also found another example of "Twitter Themes" at Positive Space Blog, the offering isn't quite as vast but still good enough, what has impressed me with both sites is how the themes are implemented into, naturally I would have assumed it would have needed an install like a Wordpress theme would, but the code from the site simply fits into the customized settings of your Twitter account.

What growth opportunity would there be for a company who is involved in graphic design to monetise this idea, I mean firstly is there a true market for this or is it just anyone creating new themes? Could there be a subscription model to download as many different professional themes as you want to customize your Twitter page, or maybe a free ad supported model where a page background could be its own clickable ad, maybe a bit drastic (or not!)

Download Squad did a feature on how Twitter could monetize its business model, themes wasn't one of them! Steve Polland also did the same, the thing that concerns me about his thinking on Twitter monetization is about how Twitter should monetize external apps, which of course are being written using the external API!

Of course, the overall point I want to make it just how much I don't think Twitter Themes will be a huge success, they may be if more people stay at the Twitter Web client rather then external apps, but we shall see!


Originally published at:  Josh Chandler's Blog

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.

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