In what was likely the most horrifically devastating keynote presentation in SXSW history--people were comparing it to the great Sarah Lacy-Mark Zuckerberg fiasco of 2008, but, hey, at least that was entertaining--moderator and Harvard Business Review blogger Umair Haque talked about his vacation, his blog, and generally himself, as he purportedly interviewed Twitter founder Evan Williams, who was so bored he checked his watch at one point, giving the slowly draining ballroom its sole laugh.
And, oh yeah, Williams unveiled an app that will allow people to access Twitter information on any site on the Internet. It's named @Anywhere.
For only about 60 seconds at the beginning of the keynote, Williams flipped through a few slides explaining the app that will allow content producers to embed Twitter data into any Web site. So say you wanted to know more about that company Twitter I mentioned in the last sentence: Hover over their name and one of the previously announced "hovercards" will pop up with all their Twitter account information (including all the wonderful reviews of that keynote). Or maybe, for example, you were really enjoying this blog post (thanks, I appreciate it), so you'd be able to hover up over my byline and start following me on Twitter without even leaving the site. Web sites will also be able to host lists of Twitter accounts, much like the staff lists we've created on the Twitter site itself. You'll also be able to sign into Web sites using your Twitter account, much like you can already do with Facebook.
To launch such a thing, Twitter has a dozen or so content partners from Bing and Digg to Huffington Post and The New York Times, who will begin embedding the new frameworks into their Web pages. This latest announcement will do nothing to help Twitter sell ads or otherwise monetize its content, as some had prognosticated. Instead, @Anywhere was created to save users time and clicks, and to help them find the content that's most relevant to them, faster. "Twitter is about creating better relationships," said Williams. "We're still focused on how to create the best experience." Which, to Williams, means keeping you as far away as possible from their own URL. "Our goal is not to increase the time you spend on the Twitter site." If only they could have reduced the time I spent at the Twitter keynote. Love the app, guys, but I would rather have heard about it @Anywhere but there.
See more of Umair Hawue at Innovation Uncensored 2011.