When I last saw Scoble yesterday, he was headed over to meet with Twitter's Evan Williams to bury the virtual hatchet over their recent tiff. The Twitter guys had complained that people like Robert, with 25,000 followers were abusing Twitter. It had been built for low-traffic purposes and every time Robert posted, which is quite often, Twitter was obliged to distribute his post mre than 25,000 times. Good point.
Except the most enduring products rarely stay confined to their original intent. I am pretty certain that Alexander Graham Bell had no idea that his invention would lead to people watching YouTube on an iPhone. FaceBook began nt so very long ago as a campus dating/friending network.
Then there's the Scobleizer view.As perhaps the most prolific contributor of social media content in the world his curiose inclination to play with and talk about all new tech innovations make him a huge influencer of new products. There is no question that Scoble has brought Twitter thousands, probably 10s of thousands of users. Robert argues that Twitter should build products to suit the needs of its most influential customers, not kvetch publically about them. And he has a pretty good case. I'm a big advocate of companies listening to their customers, and Scoble is among their very best customers.
Except that the service is free. And every time Scoble posts, which is quite often, Twitter is obliged to distribute his posts more than 25,000 times. If Scoble posts, 100 times in a day that's 2,500,000 free deliveries for Robert at twitter's expense.
I think just about everyone close to the issue at this time sees the solution in some form of tiered structure. The average Twitter user, Biz Stone told me in an April GNTV interview, has ten followers, follow 10 people and posts about three times daily That would be the free service and what most Twitter users are happy to have for free. For those of us who use it more we would pay, by the post, by the minth or in some measurable way. In my interview with Biz, he talked about making it a utility and this is pretty much how phone and cable companies structure usage.
In fact, Om Malik has suggested the same in a thoughtful post on this subject. Except that under Om's plan, Scoble would pay for the 25,000 followers he has, which seems to me to be like charging email users for receiving spam. I'd rather see the charges tiered to usage--the number of peope follow, the number of times I post, etc.
I think most of us who have become ardent in our Twitter usage are ready to pay, except for on very big catch: Like Biz said in our interview. Before Twitter can charge for usage, it has to become a consistantly reliable service, at least as reliable as a hpone or cable carrier.