Initially, many saw Twitter as little more than a series of posts about what people had for breakfast. That's changing, as Twitter evolves into something closer to a micro-blogging service for very short and highly topical updates (albeit one interspersed with information about people's breakfasts).
That might still seem distant from “serious” business uses, but I think that we can already see where this is leading thanks to new applications built on top of Twitter, things like TweetMinster Wire. This comes from the Tweetminster site, which allows you to follow the tweets of UK politicians.
TweetMinster Wire goes much further:
The TweetMinster Wire is a desktop application that lets you track conversations, connect and engage around UK politics and the issues that matter in real time. Analyse conversations, discover the hot topics and follow what politicians are talking about directly from your desktop.
If you're into politics and love Twitter, it's made for you. The TweetMinster Wire pulls together relevant political content from Twitter, giving you access to livestreams featuring:
MPs that Tweet
PPCs that Tweet
Tweets from all major Parties
UK Parliament and Government tweets
Relevant conversations (our secret sauce)
Posts that include #tmwire (if your tweet is about UK politics add #tmwire to it and it will appear in the Wire)
It also gives you the ability to search tweets, view and compare topics and identify trends in UK politics from the real life conversations behind the spin. The Tweetminster Wire is also a Twitter client, so you can tweet, follow, reply, retweet and direct message your friends and followers.
As you can see, this is already a pretty powerful system for pulling information out of the political tweetstream. Aside from its analytical abilities, what makes TweetMinster Wire so powerful is that it is highly focussed in terms of whose tweets it draws on; this means it is effectively filtering out the other 10 million users that are irrrelevant, and giving you just the ones you want.
But exactly the same approach could be applied to *any* domain - for example, vertical industries. The only thing missing currently is a way to pull out the core people there. And where there's a need, there's clearly a business opportunity; I predict we'll be seeing dozens – if not hundreds – of such dashboards, each dedicated to a particular sector, emerging in the coming months, and that these will soon become indispensable tools for business.Follow me on Twitter @glynmoody