Twitter Connects People to What’s Important to Them, Not To What’s Important to Me

The website Mashable today reported that Twitter’s CEO recently said of the company’s vision that

We want to instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most important to them.

Why is this important? Because the folks at Twitter realize that all technologies are always appropriated, used by users to accomplish things that are important to them, and not things that are important to the folks at Twitter. In fact, technologies are often used in ways that were not even imagined by the original designers. Printed books, long used for exclusionary sacred practice, were eventually used as a tool for maintaining wide democratic associations and eventually as a vehicle for illustrated comics. The Internet, first designed for military research, has become a platform for global commerce and social connection.  Ten speeds were turned into mountain bikes, cars were turned into hot rods, and computers, once designed for crunching numbers and storing data, have been turned into digital publishing machines and massive gaming platforms.

If it is your job to figure out digital technology and you think that “Twitter is good for X” or “Facebook is good for Y” or that “Smart Phones are for Z,” you may want to think again, because somewhere out there right now, someone has found a way to use each of those technologies for something that is important to him or her, in a way that you can’t yet imagine.

*Note: for some deeper insights on how these sort of processes work, i would highly recommend reading Eric von Hippel’s research or his book on “Lead User Innovation”

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