Time has published its 100 Most Influential People list and gracing the list this year are the Twitter Founders – Evan Williams and Biz Stone. I extend my congratulations to them as they are in a club with President Obama, Ted Kennedy, Sarah Palin and a host of other newsmakers. Whether or not they deserve to be on the list would be a valid debate. However, I believe what is more interesting is Ashton "Mr. Twitter" Kutcher’s description of the service and the potential transformative power of the technology that they developed.
Here’s most of Mr. Kutcher’s quote –
"Years from now, when historians reflect on the time we are currently living in, the names Biz Stone and Evan Williams will be referenced side by side with the likes of Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Filio Farnswarth, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.. because the creation of twitter is as significant and paradigm shifting as the invention of Morse code, the telephone, radio, television, or the personal computer."
As an early adopter of the service in 2007, I have enjoyed watching it grow in terms of subscribers and functionality. Twitter’s evolution in may ways has been powered from its users not the service provider itself. For instance, Summize (twitter search) and Twitpic (pictures via Twitter) are two examples of non-twitter developed products that thrive on it. That is impressive to me.
I think it is way too early to put Evan and Biz with those tech titans Mr. Kutcher referenced. No doubt Twitter has the potential to be a transformative technology. The continued uses of it by the community continue to amaze me. However, if Hollywood continues to use it as a one-way broadcast channel (like TV), it completely loses its power. That is one thing that Mr. Kutcher doesn’t understand.