Evan Williams, the Twitter co-founder, used his SXSW keynote to introduce @anywhere, a new service that highlights Twitter.
Evan Williams, the Twitter co-founder, used his SXSW keynote to introduce @anywhere, a new service that highlights Twitter users within news stories and allows users to Tweet a story without leaving the website they’re on.
There was a quick video demonstration, which should be unveiled at some point soon, but it basically works partly like Facebook Connect and partly like a Twitter preview. Hover over a hyperlinked name (like The Flaming Lips, as was his example) mentioned in an article on Huffington Post or the New York Times and you’ll see that names’ Twitter account and latest Tweets (so, in his example, you see the Flaming Lips Twitter account, which you can follow, or click to see the latest). So at any mention of a name, you can see that Twitter account without going to the Twitter site or client.
The new @anywhere service made the otherwise drab keynote worthwhile. Williams was faced with questions to the equivalent of “how did you make Twitter so great?”, which was mostly received by groans from the in-the-know audience.
Williams talked about his efforts to “increase the signal-to-noise ratio,” thus getting the 100 or so important tweets per day (out of 50 million, the noise) to users.
He also spoke briefly of the site’s growth from startup to social media giant. To demonstrate, an organizer flashed a Twitter shirt Williams brought to SXSWi four years ago, with no Twitter bird or cutsie font, just type that said: “wearing my Twitter shirt.”
Now, four years later, attendees are showing up dressed as the iconic Twitter bird, and promptly being escorted out. Whatever lessons can be gleaned from Williams’ speech, the obvious one is four years is an eternity online.