Jeff Jarvis on the Next Technological Milestone

Question: What new technology will change everything?

Jeff Jarvis: If I knew, I’d be rich, and so I don’t know.

I think that it’s constant surprise. Twitter is a simple little program that lets you put in a 140 character messages from your phone or from the web, it’s micro blogging. I looked at it and I kind of dismissed it. But my 16 year old son and webmaster and the genius behind me said, “You know Dad, no you gotta look at Twitter again. Stuff’s going on there.” And he was right. It’s really amazing because it’s social blogging, you choose whom to follow and who follows you. It’s public conversation, it captures a kind of zeitgeist of the time.

I just saw that Reuters and the BBC are trying to do constant searches on Twitter for words like explosion and evacuation because Twitter becomes the canary in the news coal mine, telling you that people are writing about, their lives. And if there’s an evacuation, right now, they’re going to tell you that, and they’re going to tell you that before any news reporter would ever know this.

So Twitter, this silly thing of 140 characters--what did you have for breakfast, I don’t care what you had for breakfast-- suddenly becomes a whole new platform for understanding what’s going on in people’s lives. Who could have predicted that?

Now the fact that it came from Evan Williams, who also was a co-creator of Blogger, which popularized blogging and changed my life and the world, means that I do pay attention to Twitter. But I wouldn’t have guessed it. I think that’s what the internet is about is that when you put out a platform and you see how people use it, and when you get surprised, you’ve won.

Recorded on: April 30, 2008

Jeff Jarvis on the power of micro-blogging.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less
Promotional photo of Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones
Surprising Science
  • It's commonly thought that the suppression of female sexuality is perpetuated by either men or women.
  • In a new study, researchers used economics games to observe how both genders treat sexually-available women.
  • The results suggests that both sexes punish female promiscuity, though for different reasons and different levels of intensity.
Keep reading Show less

This 1997 Jeff Bezos interview proves he saw the future coming

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.

Technology & Innovation
  • Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
  • He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
  • Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
Keep reading Show less