Computerworld

Computerworld Top 10 Most Influential 2009 - #5 Twitter

Computerworld's Top 10 Most Influential for 2009 continues with 5th place: Twitter

As the year draws to a close, it is time to recognise the people, products, organisations, trends and events that have had the greatest influence on the ICT industry and community. We have therefore launched the inaugural Computerworld Top 10 Most Influential.

Last week Computerworld began counting down to the winner with one article each day from 10th place to number one.

When we reach #1 on Friday, it will be over to you for the readers' choice award. If you don't agree with the panel of 12 you can still have your say on the most influential person, product, organisation, trend or event for 2009.

We’ll publish the results on the website and in the February/March issue of Computerworld magazine.

#5 Twitter

Twitter’s impact in 2009 was such that it’s hard to believe the micro-blogging service debuted less than four years ago. Launched in July 2006, the social network which allows users to post updates in 140 characters or less was at first dismissed by many as a mere gimmick. After all, on the surface, blabbing about what you are doing doesn’t sound like something that will change the world.

But in 2009 Twitter not only changed the way many people communicate online, it became a lifeline. During a harsh government crackdown following the disputed Iranian elections, Twitter really came into its own. The Iranian government blocked or shut down phone lines, Facebook, YouTube and text messaging, but people could send photos and information from Iran in short bursts, telling their own story. The incident led a former US national security adviser to call for the service and its creators to be considered for a Nobel Peace Prize for the role they played during the civil unrest.

In Australia, Twitter was one of the first places people turned for news regarding the worst bushfires in Australian history.

Not only did a string of high-profile celebrities join the Twitterverse in 2009, government agencies, keen to embrace the openness of social media, joined up in droves; even if they do not post updates, policy makers now find themselves with Twitter accounts to keep up with the latest news on all things Gov 2.0. The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, regularly ‘tweets’ from his verified account and has more than 800,000 ‘followers’.

In March, web satirist and mobile emerging technology specialist, Leslie Nassar, outed himself as the person behind the popular Fake Stephen Conroy twitter account and was quickly silenced by the telco.

Despite such corporate hiccups, Twitter is becoming an integral part of the digital media strategy of many an enterprise — a way of communicating with customers and an instant link to the zeitgeist of the moment. In an interview with Computerworld, company co-founder Biz Stone said Twitter can help people track global events as easily as they track their friends' day-to-day activities.

"It's become the pulse of what's happening in the world," said Stone. "It can be as big as terrorist attacks in Mumbai or as nano as eating a sandwich. You can look at it as trivial or as a pulse of information. It depends on how you customise it.”

Recently, Texas-based Global Language Monitor, which documents, analyses and tracks trends in language around the world, announced "Twitter" as the top word of 2009 based on its annual global survey of English words and phrases that appear in the media and online.

Twitter’s inclusion on the Top 10 Most Influential list caused much debate among the panel — not least because it nudged out Google for the number five spot. But its local growth, its use in education and the Australian link to the famous Twitter Fail Whale, by artist Yiying Lu, all combine to make Twitter a force to be reckoned with and worthy of its number five listing.

More stories on Twitter

Twitter previews new mobile site

Twitter named Word of the Year

Twitter gets mobile phone users to surf the web

Twitter turns on geolocation functionality

Twitter considered for Nobel Peace Prize

Business use of Twitter, Facebook exploding

Facebook deploys a Twitter-style '@' tag

Twitter turns on lists

Twitter for Xbox Live

Vic police use Twitter to report on road blitz

Top 10 funniest people on Twitter

Twitter valued at $1 billion

Twitter becomes lifeline to an Iran in turmoil

Porn spam increasing targets social networks

Twitter withstands second DDoS attack in a week

Astronaut sends first tweet from space

Page Break

How we chose the Top 10 Most Influential 2009

The Top 10 Most Influential 2009 was chosen by a panel of 12 members comprising the Computerworld editorial team (4) and 8 industry experts (see below for details). Each member of the panel was given a list of suggested possible entries for inclusion in the final list. They were then encouraged to nominate 10 candidates and to add others if they thought them worthy of consideration.

To ensure the broadest possible range of products, people, trends, organisations and events were given a chance at being considered, no restrictions were imposed. In short, anything considered by a panel member to have been one of the biggest influences on the ICT industry and community throughout 2009 was acceptable.

The nominations (or votes) were then tallied by the Computerworld Editorial team and a short-listed created. The entry with the most votes was then selected as the Most Influential for 2009. Those entries with the same amount of votes then went through a count-back with a final decision made by the panel.

The Panel:

Computerworld Editorial Team:

Trevor Clarke (Editor) – See more stories by Trevor

Georgina Swan (Deputy Editor) – See more stories by Georgina

Tim Lohman (Journalist) – See more stories by Tim

Kathryn Edwards (Journalist) – See more stories by Kathryn

Frost & Sullivan ICT practice head, Andrew Milroy Andrew Milroy heads up Frost & Sullivan’s ICT practice in ANZ having joined the firm in 2006. Andrew has spent more than15 years in the ICT industry. He has held senior management roles at IDC and co-founded, NelsonHall, a successful IT services advisory firm in the United States. Andrew’s recent roles have been focused upon the development of research and consulting activities in Europe, Australia and the Asia Pacific region. His research focus has been ICT services, in particular outsourcing. He has also led research and consulting projects in cloud computing and sustainable IT. Visit the Frost & Sullivan website

IDC Associate Vice President Research, Australia, Tim Dillon Tim Dillon manages IDC’s Australian research operations. As part of his role Tim focuses on working with Senior IT executives from Australia’s leading IT&T organisations across consulting projects, research and analysis areas such as; Telecoms, Software and Services. Tim has more than 17 years of professional experience in research. Having lived and worked both in Europe and Asia Pacific, Tim has a global perspective that provides a broader view of technology trends as it impacts Australia. Visit the IDC website

Intermedium Head of Consulting, Kevin Noonan Kevin specialises in the Government IT, as an industry analyst, consultant and commentator. For the last four years, he has provided consulting advice to more than half of the Top 100 ICT companies, and many government agencies. Kevin has more than thirty years experience in the government IT sector. This includes ten years as a government senior executive and Chief Information Officer, and a further eighteen years as a government manager and project director. During this time he held positions responsible for almost every aspect of IT, ranging from technical infrastructure and major procurement, through to policy and large scale business change Visit Intermedium's website

Web Directions conference series co-founder and author, John Allsopp John Allsopp is a co-founder of the Web Directions conference series, and author of one of the earliest books on Microformats. As a software developer, long standing web development speaker, writer, evangelist and self proclaimed expert, he’s spent the last 15 years working with and developing for the web. As the head developer of the leading cross platform CSS development tool Style Master, and developer and publisher of renowned training courses and learning resources on CSS and standards based development, and author of the highly regarded “Dao of Web Design” he has been widely recognized as a leader in these fields. Visit the Web Directions website.

IBRS advisor, Dr Kevin McIsaac Dr Kevin McIsaac is the IBRS advisor for virtualisation, desktop deployment, mobile devices & networks, servers & storage and data centre infrastructure. He has 25 years of IT experience and is a recognised expert in infrastructure, operations and vendor management. Dr McIsaac has 10 years experience as an IT Analyst researching, distilling and disseminating best practices in IT and regularly work with the CIOs and the IT management teams of leading Asia-Pacific organisations. Prior to IBRS, Dr McIsaac was Research Director Asia-Pacific Group for META Group and has held leadership positions at Computer Associates and Functional Software. Visit the IBRS website.

Social media commentator and strategist, Laurel Papworth Laurel is one of Australia’s top social media strategists, a renowned keynote speaker and respected thought leader on the business of being social. She is in the Power150 Media and Marketing blogs globally (Advertising Age), # 3 Media Marketing blogger in Australian (B&T Magazine), and regularly interviewed about social networks in international press and on Australian TV shows and Radio National, Vogue Australia, The Australian and the Fin Review, SMH, Telegraph, and various magazines Visit Laurel's website.

Layer10 Founder, Paul Brooks

Paul Brooks is the founder of Layer10, a consultancy and advisory practice in the telecommunications industry specialising in broadband access, optical network design and service strategy.

Australian Information Industry Association CEO, Ian Birks Ian Birks was appointed AIIA Chief Executive Officer in July 2008. Prior to this he was a national board member of the AIIA, serving since 2004. As a board member Ian has been actively involved in industry workforce and skills issues, working as an advisor to the association’s initiatives in this area. Visit the AIIA website