Scott Monty

 

I'm taking a long weekend with my wife, kids and my parents to celebrate Mother's Day at Disney World. So imagine my surprise when I recently was introduced to a Twitter account @twisney by Doug Haslam (@DougH on Twitter). Twisney aggregates updates from anyone who uses "@twisney" in their tweets and then shares it on Twitter and on their site.

Featured in today's Buzzwatch in the Wall Street Journal, Twisney.com, the brainchild of Scott Mitchell, a 34 year-old Disney fan who created this site of real-time updates from individuals within the parks. The intro to the WSJ post captures it all:
If you want to understand how citizen journalists armed with cellphones are going to change the world–and create challenges and opportunities for businesses–spend a few minutes at Twisney.com.

What you’ll find there: Live updates from ordinary people walking around Disney World, using their cellphones to share their experiences with anyone who cares to take notice.


The site has some pretty cool features, including updates that are overlaid on an aerial view of the parks, a collection of uploaded photos by date & tag, and a whole page of tools on how you can use Twisney.

The more I read about add-ons, apps, and creative uses of Twitter, the more I'm inspired. When a simple and elegant service comes along and changes the way people interact with each other - and opens its API (Application Programming Interface - the source code), what happens is you get seemingly limitless possibilities because of the passion, know-how, and creativity of its user base.

This has happened with Twitter, again and again. I can't even begin to list all of the useful apps for Twitter because there are so many that do a variety of things. Your best bet to witness the community in action is to check out the Twitter Fan Wiki.

I believe that the brands that open themselves up to co-development by fans will benefit the most. Whether you're a consumer packaged goods company or a software startup, there are brand loyalists out there who love your stuff and want to help you succeed. Companies that greedily hoard and guard their brand will find that in the end, they'll have achieved only a shadow of what was possible had they been more open and accepting of consumer-generated content and shared intellectual property.

It baffles me that there are still corporate brand Nazis out there (mostly from the legal department in large companies) who don't get this yet. What's your experience? Have you tried to co-create anything, only to be rebuked? Or even better, have you been embraced by a company who likes what you're doing with their brand? I'd love to know.


Photo courtesy of Eprice.com.tw

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