I'm a huge fan of the book, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why The Many Are Smarter Than The Few And How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies And Nations, by James Surowiecki. The basic principle of the book is that all of us are smarter than any one of us. It fits in nicely with some of the values of Social Media (look no further than the closest wiki) and falls perfectly in-line with the tenants of co-creation and participation.
The concept that a collective can move fast and furiously crystallized today. I learned about the Google acquisition of Feedburner (in a deal worth close to one hundred million dollars) via Twitter. I did not read about it via the usual technology news websites that I follow. It was not listed on any of my feeds that scour the Blogosphere like a little army of investigative journalists. It wasn't even a cryptic email from a compadre with a scoop.
It was on Twitter.
What originally seemed like a river of self-interested chest-beating blather of "friends" that have given me permission to stalk them via this new SMS-sized online social network is quickly evolving into an all-knowing consciousness of information, links, tips tricks and tech support center.
Traditional media outlets would bend huge budgets to have correspondents placed in different parts of the world to file stories and get "on the ground" insights that the average individual would never have access to. Now, at any given time, my fairly small friends list (it's fewer than one hundred and fifty) spans the globe and constantly feeds personal, local, national and global insights at a non-stop pace.
In a world where we trust what our peers say at a much higher multiple than anything pumped out by the media, Twitter is perhaps beginning to demonstrate her true power.
Mash-up the theory of The Wisdom of Crowds, bulk it up with the our enriched belief in what our peers say, add in a sprinkle of global connectivity and top it off with a constant conversational link and Twitter - which is still considered by some a sheer waste of time - could well be the source we all use as our primary way to understand what's happening in the world.
Marketers really need to wake up to Twitter. In a world where creating engaging brand experiences has become the entry price, how can any of us ignore or dismiss the potential huge windfall of engendering brand evangelists at this level? If any one person is being followed by hundreds of people, you don't need a calculator to see how this model scales when it comes to having your pulse on what your consumers are up to.
At the same time, I'm seeing a new value in Twitter as it truly becomes my new CNN. Hence, TNN - Twitter News Network. All news, all personal, all global_ all the time.