Google CEO bashes Twitter

4 March 2009 One Comment Mike Evans

Google CEO Eric Schmidt must be getting jumpy. He’s been trash-talking Twitter, calling it a “poor man’s email system.” The King of search really couldn’t be more wrong. Follow these simple steps, Eric, to see why…

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley technology conference, Schmidt poured scorn on Twitter, saying “…I view all of these [real-time notification systems] as sort of poor man’s email systems…I think the innovation is great. In Google’s case, we have a very successful instant messaging product, and that’s what most people end up using.”

Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Really? You’re comparing Twitter to Email and IM?

OK, just do the following:

Write an email of 140 characters to whoever you want and press send. Then write the same message on Twitter, then again on Facebook, then on your blog, then again on your mobile phone via SMS.

Notice how you feel each time? That’s right, a little bit different according to the medium your using.

To be more precise, it’s the *audience* that dictates your reaction.

Sending an email or using instant messenger is very different from tweeting, because the audience is very different. With email and IM, you know the people you’re communicating with, and they have no choice but to listen to you.

With Twitter, you don’t necessarily know who you’re communicating with, but you do know you have an audience who have decided to listen to you based on what you’ve previously tweeted. It’s their choice to listen, which is completely different from Email in particular, where you have absolutely no choice but to read. As for IM, there’s no concept of the communication being stored, you talk to your audience rather than your audience choosing to listen to you, and, crucially (you’d think!) for Google, your conversation isn’t searchable at a later date.

How many IM conversations have you had that appear on Google?!

Marshall McLuhan may have famously said that “the medium is the message” but with the new ways of communicating online, it’s the audience who receives the message and how they choose to do so that matters more.

Perhaps Schmidt should use these “poor man’s email systems” a bit more himself before casting judgment!

[Source: Business Insider, via Pocket Lint]

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  1. This is a great post Mike thanks, and it is to the point. Too often, industry ‘leaders’ make sweeping generalisations about trends, and wether you’re a Twitter fan or not (as I am not personally) it shows a realy lack of understanding on Schmidt’s part to compare it to email and IM. Nevertheless, bad publicity can be good publicity and these statements end up having the opposite effect….

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