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@Twitter: the Intersection of the Synaptic Web, a Potential for New Business Models

Since the beginning of last year much has changed when it comes to the Web, Twitter and the amount of exchanged information fluxes (all over the Web) grew massively. I’m referring to the beginning of last year because it was then that I reflected on a new perspective of the Web, the Synaptic Web.

I’m using Twitter for multiple purposes and whenever using it, analysing the streams of real-time information I’m thinking of a Synaptic Web application/point of perspective on and by Twitter to understand its place and potential for new business models.

Costolo billed Twitter as an information network -rather than a social network- that connects people to what’s important to them as it happens. Twitter plays a central role in the Synaptic Web and in connecting information because it’s diffused and used by many other networks and entities to flow information:

Social profiles are becoming real-time streams. If the old profile was a neuron, the stream is a neural pathway or pattern. It is the connective tissue between applications and people that feeds information from one node to another. Profiles come and go, people express themselves using countless tools and technologies – the stream, however, is the consistent and persistent channel that matters. It is the new presentation metaphor that increases the level of information we can consume while reducing our sense of overload. Just like synapses, they fire, and like synapses, it is the collective patterns of multiple firings – multiple signals or re-tweets – that creates a pattern. Patterns create meaning. Tune in, tune out, it doesn’t matter. The information will find you if it matters. Implicit information derived from content and gestures is one of the great opportunities of the Synaptic Web. To observe a set of gestures and connect them together creates a dynamic profile of interests, intentions and friends that can be used for discovery and filtering.

This is where co-creation and interoperability kick in -from a human and infrastucture point of view-, where Twitter currently is the conduit to do so:

The Synaptic Web is forming. It will be made of small pieces loosely and organically joined. More profoundly, though, the connections between those pieces will be just as important as the pieces themselves. The connections will be interoperable and create spontaneous meaningful interactions. The network will look less like a two dimensional spiders web and more like a three dimensional human brain. And like with all things, the more connections occur, the faster our pace of innovation and serendipity.

Twitter’s richness

The Synaptic Web and Twitter are in correspondence when it comes to the descriptive focus/intent of the two. Both are attempting to frame what is actually happening. Twitter is rich is terms of usage and information sharing capabilities to and from other networks that it able to give mainstream meaning to the streams of information, the people and “the space between them”. Third party tools that are giving insight in Twitter (and other networks) are “flat” and not taking into account all that is around. Current tools are using the person as a starting point, this is where Twitter could dramatically improve its services and be able to explore (B2B) business models.


By taking the Synaptic approach and applying it to the Twitter ecosystem, it can mine for meaningful and actionable intelligence for businesses, creating B2B models next to the conventional advertising driven model. Wouldn’t it be great to have an “intelligent” tool that looks beyond quantifications, but by being able to understand the “spaces between” people/streams/objects give better meaning of the content and people?

Think of disciplines like PR, Marketing, Consumer Insights, Competitive Intelligence where it’s important to understand who the influencers are, what networks people are using and what and how is spoken about a specific topic to have a real-time snapshot of understanding. Quantification reigns but as the Word of Mouth Equity has shown, networks and volumes of messages can be small and still be more powerful than large ones, depending on its context. The context depends on the synapses.

Business Models of Insight

Twitter can offer B2B services based on the concept above, the advertising model it’s currently deploying is below its real potential. Getting real meaning from all the information that travel through many networks and intersect Twitter to expand further is time-consuming and manually inefficiënt. To quote:

The Synaptic Web is a dynamic web of adaptive “organic” and implicit connections whereby real-time information flows give structure and meaning to previously unconnected sets of data. The Internet is a sea of conversations streaming through connections, and these patterns have meaning.

Twitter, that is where your money is. Interpretation of the patterns in actionable insights for different purposes.