Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Uncovering Connections on Twitter Could Become Big Business

f there's a hard-to-reach person you want to meet, one of the best ways to do so is through their friends. That's true in the offline world and the increasingly social nature of the internet may make discovery of the social circles of key influencers a powerful business practice online.

A new class of tools intended to surface influencers and the people they are influenced by are focusing on a hub of rapid, connected conversation that's wide open for analysis - Twitter. Could analysis of individual behavior on Twitter become a valuable tool for business development and marketing? A growing number of startup companies are making a case that it could.

Last week Twitter announced that it will soon allow users to create lists of friends that they can share with others. It's an attempt to make user discovery easier and it's cute, but it looks pretty rudimentary at a time when some companies are building enterprise-scale software for real-time discovery and analysis of circles of Twitter users, their expertise, influence and sentiment on topics.

On the margins of the developing Twitter-as-business tool ecosystem are startups building light-weight influencer discovery and analysis tools. Two of the most interesting yet have launched in the last 24 hours, in fact.

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