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I attended the CrunchUp last week. After the conference, I came away thinking about the structure that we’re trying to put into a format that at conception didn’t have structure.

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Providing structure in 140 characters or less

Hash tags, like #crunchup, #fail and others, are used for providing a higher level of index or relevance during search.

Tools like TweetDeck, Seesmic and others are moving to replicate email type functionality for tweets with groups, threads, inbox, outbox, scheduled publishing and so on.

Search engines like OneRiot, Collecta, Topsy and Scoopler are rushing to provide filters to somehow winnow the stream to just the important content either by analyzing shared links or contextual analysis.

Marketing research tools provide brands aggregated insight into the sentiment of the crowd. BuzzMetrics and Cymfony compared to PeopleBrowsr.

Replication of the pattern with blogs

There are a few parallels with blogs

  • development of similar technology to serve massive user bases (Blogger and Twitter, not coincidentally from a subset of the founders)
  • development of similar filters against unstructured data (Technorati and OneRiot)
  • hold similar promise to democratize media
  • similar problems of spam and attention deficit
  • unclear initial revenue models (not unique to these spaces)

Unclear revenue models

The scarce resource is attention. It’s unclear how a service can elegantly divorce charging for attention in a way that doesn’t obviate the initial usefulness of the platform. The same was true for search with paid inclusion. Eventually came AdWords.

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