Twitter and the Wisdom of the Crowds

A lot of digital ink has been spilled debating the usefulness of Twitter. And what makes Twitter so interesting is that people have developed lots of interesting uses for the service. There is one particular use that some of the Internet “stars” have talked about. Asking Twitter a question.

I’m a big fan of the “Wisdom of the Crowds” concept and when you have hundreds of people following you on Twitter, you can ask a question and you get floods of @ replies to your account. “What’s a good restaurant in SF for pizza?” or “Recommendations on flat panel TVs under $600” or “Good CSS guide/book/tutorial/video suggestions” or plenty of other types of questions have been asked. And the responses, a few to thousands, come in within seconds or minutes.

And the users that describe the results see it as a productivity tool. So many people look at Twitter as a huge time sink, so the productivity happens only when more people are using it. And that is the real key to Web 2.0 applications: they get better when more people use them.

The only problem that I have is that I don’t have enough followers on Twitter to test this yet. So I need your help. Follow me on Twitter, and I will follow you right back. If you ask a question and I see it and know the answer, I will respond, but you have to do the same in turn.