'Radar' O'Reilly

By Bob Cohn

Tim O'Reilly has 833,025 followers on Twitter. No doubt more by the time you click over to his account. And he's written 7,688 status updates. Not only that, but as one of the smartest writers and thinkers on technology, he's devoted some time to figuring out what Twitter really means -- and how he can best use it. He compares himself to a point guard on a basketball team -- "handing out assists" by "using my retweets to build the visibility of others and create and foster a community that cares about the ideas, trends, and people that I care about."

In an interview with me at the Aspen Ideas Festival, O'Reilly talked about Twitter as "a new kind of real-time nervous system for news." Sure it's easy to dismiss as trivial the answer to Twitter's relentless demand What are you doing? Says O'Reilly: "Many times it's trivial. but other times the personal becomes very important, and [people are tweeting], 'Whoa, I just saw a jetliner landing on the Hudson, and here's a picture of it....That's a fundamental change. We're all news reporters now."

O'Reilly, a tech book publisher and conference organizer, is famous for his radar, for knowing what's coming next on the tech front. So get ready for eyeglasses with built-in facial recognition software -- and a screen to remind you of the name of that guy from accounting that you're talking to.

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