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Could Twitter apps be worth paying for?

June 18, 2009
What does the future hold for Twitter?

What does the future hold for Twitter?

Today, I discovered TweetPsych. It applies linguistic word theory to some of your past tweets to tell you something about your personality.  It still has a way to go, in my humble opinion, but it brilliantly gives a snapshot of where Twitter apps are heading – they are going to get deeper, and provide information that is really useful.  In fact, you may even pay to use them – and wouldn’t it be nice to know people are paying to use Twitter?

As an test, I put CNN’s breaking news feed (@cnnbrk) into TweetPsych.  I discovered CNN expresses lots of negative emotions – or, in other words, bad news. Is this proof that the mainstream media are obsessed with bad news? Or just that there is a lot of it about at the moment?

TweetPsych is a great start – a way of adding value to Twitter. Here are some suggestions for Twitter apps that I would happily pay for. Please let me know what you think, and add others in the comments, if you feel inspired!

User analysis

1. Tweeter bias test. During the recent Iranian election, it became clear that Twitter contained more useful evidence about what was going on than the mainstream media.  The only problem was, it is impossible to know how objective individual tweeters are.

But a check on the content and tone of previous tweets could reveal political or religious bias, giving you a better way to judge the value of individual tweets.

2. Tweeter preference finder. I sometimes wonder who the people are that follow me.  I would love a tool that could help me sift through my followers to identify those who feel positively towards a certain subjects, based on an analysis of their tweets.  So if I was arranging an event centred on a specific issue, I could simply DM the right followers and offer them an invitation.

Power search tools

3. Ask Twitter. Twitter is great at providing answers to questions.  If a question has been answered once, the Q&A still exists.  Why not develop a tool that offers previous answers, based on a linguistic analysis of any question posed?  Users could rate suggested answers, and the tool could “learn” over time to improve the identification of best responses.

4. Twitter Picture Viewer.  This would allow you to search for and download twitter images using hashtags, key words, or a user name. It could also use search filters along the lines Microsoft has used in Bing image search (colour vs. b+w, head shots vs. landscape) and potentially additional functions such as geo-locate used in iPhoto ’09 to make the tool even more powerful.

5. Twitter Local Trends.  This would allow you to analyse all sorts of things based on tweets within a specific region.  For example, it could help locate the source of slang, or reveal local attitudes towards key words or phrases based on tone of tweets, e.g. how does popularity towards the Olympics vary across the country?  Could be a nice research tool, giving realtime changes in attitude.

And there must be more! What Twitter app you would design, if you had the chance? And would you pay for any of these?

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One comment

  1. I’m actually not sure if Twitter applications would sell as much as applications on the iTunes store do. I don’t think I would personally do so, especially since I’ve been downloading all of the free apps (mostly) from the iTunes store.

    I think another important question is “how can Twitter make money?” Currently they have no business scheme it seems and there is no way for them to make money as of yet. It’s funny that the apps that support it – such as Twitterific and Tweetie – are making money by selling their applications, yet Twitter itself is not.

    Nice post!



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