Twitter is all over the news lately.
Their servers were down for a while last week, putting me into a bit of a conundrum. (I always post on Twitter when a new articles comes out.) The stock price went south. Over the weekend, a few key execs took an exit. Those are all a pretty big fail whale.
The only way to save Twitter is to start integrating their short messaging tech into hardware for the home and office. That’s exactly what you can do with a GoPro connected to your Twitter account now (thanks to integration with Periscope, the Twitter-owned app streams live video).
It’s a bit of a revelation, actually. I first tested live streaming at SxSW last year using Meerkat and was fascinated by the idea of showing my Twitter followers a live stream of a panel with Jessica Alba talking about diapers. Now that GoPro can stream from the Pericope app for the iPhone, it means everything from your morning commute to a mountain bike excursion down a ravine can be streamed for everyone to see, live and in widescreen HD glory. Oh, and you can still post it all to YouTube.
It’s a sign of things to come.
My theory is that Twitter might go on a buying spree, but not for apps this time. They could snap up small home security companies, adding short messaging to the mix. (You get a DM that your front door is unlocked.) Or, they might look at a gaming console like the Ouya and make it a Tweet-friendly experience. I still like the micro-blogging features, of course, but Twitter can capture a new market segment (and new users) if they go after hardware.
One of the “gotchas” with this plan, especially when it comes to the GoPro, is that it might be in that unique category of being just slightly too technical. I haven’t tried it yet, but my guess is that there are a few minor settings. You stream using Wi-Fi, you enable a feature in Periscope. Fine. But the GoPro is a mass market device and becoming a household name. You are heading out to surf and just need everything to work without any fuss. People might not be too willing to fidget with the settings, even if they are not that complex.
There’s another issue with hardware integration. There has to be a pay-off. I’m all for hardware sending short messages. In my example of a home security system sending you a DM, it would have to work better than a text message or give you more flexibility.
And, with GoPro, there’s also a question about whether you really want to go surfing with your iPhone in tow. Wi-Fi has plenty of range--maybe 300 feet--but it’s annoying to have to keep your phone with you on a mountain bike ride, keep it charged and protected.
I’m curious to see if this one helps Twitter overcome recent debacles. We shall see.
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