Om Malik is the most recent of many people
to ask why Twitter is such a big deal.
The reason is that it's a new messaging
protocol, where you don't specify the recipients.
New protocols are rare. Or more precisely, new
protocols that take off are.
There are only a handful of commonly used ones: TCP/IP
(the Internet), SMTP (email), HTTP (the web), and so on. So any
new protocol is a big deal. But Twitter is a protocol owned
by a private company. That's even rarer.
Curiously, the fact that the founders of Twitter
have been slow to monetize it may in the long run
prove to be an advantage. Because they haven't tried
to control it too much, Twitter feels to everyone like
previous protocols. One forgets it's owned by a
private company. That must have made it easier for
Twitter to spread.