Twitter’s YouTube Moment

For me, the thing that makes YouTube so special and vital to the explosion of the social web is not that it became an easy and free place to publish and store video, it’s the embed code.

The ability to take YouTube with you is what makes it so valuable to the web.

You can take a video of a cat on a fan and not have to leave it within the walled garden of YouTube. You can take the embed code and put it on your blog or Facebook page. When you want someone to see something, they don’t have to leave where they are to find it. They stay on your site and just click play.

By setting videos free to float around the web, YouTube ushered in an era that demands sharing. The ability to take content from one place and syndicate somewhere else is what users demand.

Twitter has now entered the era of sharing with the introduction of Twitter lists and widgets.

Twitter lists, rolled out over the past few weeks, allow users to sort the people they follow. You can have a family list, a news list, a hollywood list, a travel list etc. As Twitter grew the number of people we followed grew with it and tracking the conversations became difficult. With lists, you can sort your conversations to make sure you can better follow what’s happening and stay engaged.

Twitter lists were a great step, but the real power of the Twitter list was unveiled this week with the ability to take your lists and embed them. You can now publish twitter to your facebook page or blog with Twitter widgets.

November is Diabetes Month, I’ve created a list of people who have diabetes, are advocates for diabetes and organizations that are diabetes related. Now that list doesnt just sit on Twitter, or amongst the followers of those people. I can take that list, cut and paste some code into this blog and publish the tweets for you to see.

It’s not a quote and a link, it’s a living, breathing embed of Twitter.

Twitter has had huge growth in 2009, but there is still a barrier to understanding. It takes a few minutes to “get” what’s going on. Twitter lists and widgets now demonstrate the fluidity of the conversation. People will see the natural conversation showing up in more places. They can become accustomed to the flow of conversation around a topic and start to understand how the world wide talk show operates.

The wall will come down. People will get it.

Twitter just had it’s YouTube moment.

catch the buzz … pass it on.



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  1. November 4, 2009

    I hadn’t realised the usefullness of Twitter lists till I read your post. It just seemed like more work to me — a duplication of TweetDeck groups, really — to go through the people I follow and divide them into lists. For what purpose? Now I know. I also have been wanting Twitter widgets for my blogs and even individual blog posts and have tried to create work-arounds for eons. It’s great to see Twitter finally gets it. Thanks for writing about this!

  2. November 5, 2009

    Thanks Shireen.

    I really appreciate the ease of embed too. There were widgets before, but they all relied on RSS hacks to make it happen. Having a native twitter embed streamlines the process.

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