Commentary

Yahoo, Twitter Deal Marks Internet Amalgamation

Online Media Daily reported yesterday that Yahoo and Twitter have forged a partnership, allowing Yahoo to "incorporate selected tweets into the news feed on its" new home page. The Yahoo blog post announcing the partnership is annoyingly titled "@yahoo delivers #bestoftheweb," which underlines what I often think of Twitter outside of, well, Twitter.

Just because people love the microblogging site and how useful it can be for real-time information doesn't mean it belongs everywhere

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Twitter, and one of the best things about it is that you can choose what feeds you want to pay attention to. Some people love to see what celebrities are tweeting. I, on the other hand, avoid them at all costs. So when I read Marissa Mayer's first paragraph in the blog post, I was thoroughly unexcited for this new feature.

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She wrote, "Updates direct from politicians, [and] celebrities…have become an important source of real-time news and information. 140 characters can connect athletes with their fans, [and] capture live chatter from the red carpet…."

Yikes. Celebrities and athletes commonly tweet things (and these are real) like: "long flight," or "Strawberry Bubblegum." Of course, those tweets got 61,306 and 4,803 retweets, respectively, so maybe I'm missing something here, but I don't want stuff like that intertwined with hard news.

What makes people flock to Twitter - even to read uninspiring tweets like above - is that it connects people in real-time. It's like AIM from back in the day, only with the additional possibility of a live conversation with an A-list celebrity.

Thankfully, Mayer did outline some sources that supply important information, such as media outlets, publishers, and tweets that "inspire global debate," and I was relieved to see that Yahoo will allow the news feed tweets to be "personalized to [users'] interests and preferences."

Another issue with incorporating live tweets into news feeds, other than getting people used to hard news mixed with TMZ-ed content, is the possibility of false information spreading, if it's possible, even faster than before. Remember when the Associated Press had their Twitter account hacked, and for a few minutes everyone thought the White House had been bombed? 

I do think this is a smart move for both Yahoo and Twitter, and it sounds like it will be entirely up to the user as to what tweets appear in their feed, which makes people like me a little happier. I also think marketers should be happy, as it's not too hard to imagine this ultimately become another way to reach their audiences. 

However, the deal underscores our obsession with information in real-time. The Internet is amalgamating. People want their information so fast that having it on separate Web sites just takes too damn long.

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