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Public Domain Content from Twitter?

Ever since Creative Commons released the new CC0 license, there has been a growing trend on Twitter of people releasing all their Twitter posts into the Public Domain. As you would expect, I’ve been investigating this and have made some rather interesting discoveries. First, the Public Domain release statement being used by Twitterers to release their posts is almost universal. It is as follows:

@tweetcc: I license my tweets under Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication license

Of course, the question on your (and everyone else’s) mind is, “Can we even find any usable content on Twitter for product creation with the 140 character limit of Twitter posts?” It’s a great question…and one that needs an answer. Along with that, I also wondered whether the released posts will be little more that simple or stupid conversations between friends. Part of me wants to dismiss it all and say, YES, the content is worthless, but there is another part of me that is prompting me to investigate further.

There are two factors that stands out to me the most with this trend. First, more and more people are releasing their Tweets into the Public Domain, which means new content is being added to the Public Domain on a moment-by-moment basis! Every day more people are jumping on this bandwagon and as I’ve tracked the development of this new trend, it’s been interesting to see how the inspiration of it seems to run within certain countries and regions. Someone in Germany releases their Twitter posts into the Public Domain and then their German friends see it and do the same. And the trend continues to spread across the globe. In a sense, you could say that it’s organic, viral marketing at its best.

The second factor I’ve noticed (and just alluded to) is that this movement isn’t just limited to the United States. As a matter of fact, based on what I’ve seen so far, I would say a third to half of those Twitterers who are releasing their Tweets into the Public Domain are from other countries…especially from Central and South American countries and certain European countries, like Germany. I find this prospect very curious.

I spent a little time reading through Twitter posts by some of those who have released their copyrights. I wanted to see if I could even find any usable content in the posts that could be repurposed in some form. Below is one interesting example that I came across from the Twitter ID @fasteasyrecipe:

# ingredient swap: try these substitutions for less fattening baked goods: – instead of white flour use whole whea..

# What’s for dinner?

# chocolate play dough: What’s better than play dough? Play dough you can eat. Here’s our recipe for chocolate pla..

# feed your mind, and the rest will follow: Ever wonder which foods are brain foods. Below are the vitamins that m..

# caesar salad with garlic: 2 ounce chopped anchovies1 tablespoon minced garlic1/4 cup lemon juice4 ..

# better be balsamic: The right balsamic vinegar can make all of the difference. The older the balsa..

# happy salad day: labor day. salad day. it’s all good. this month we’re focusing on salads. there’s..

# treat yourself to a leftover makeover: it’s amazing what you can do with some staple items. here a..

# more $$$ saving tips: buy the less convienient option — boneless chicken breasts cost a lot more ..

Finding these posts encouraged me that perhaps there are some content possibilities available on Twitter through this new Public Domain trend. I decided to keep searching for more examples, and after reading a lot of useless posts, I came across some posts from @quantumbrands in Amsterdam:

# Turkish Airlines plane was not so much a crash at Schiphol – more like a controlled landing

# local new crews now broadcasting on NOS with images from Turkish Airlines plane crash at Schiphol

# no fire or smoke seen at Schiphol plane crash – treating passengers for injuries

# plane crash at Schiphol – Turkish Airlines known for bad reputation with maintenance and not permitted to fly in NL until recently again

# 50 unwounded passengers they – from Schiphol plane crash

# crash plane at Schiphol came from Istanbul

# Schiphol plane crash foto from @catorghans

# plane crash Schiphol – Turkish Airlines – closed off the A9 – not clear what happened – nose broken off – plane seems to be in 3 pieces

# news about plane crash Schiphol Amsterdam – 135 passengers, missed the A9, Polderbaan

As I read through the above posts, it suddenly occurred to me that what I was looking at…the reporting of a news event as it happened. This could have huge potential with certain types of product creation…especially if the accounts were first-hand accounts! After all, we DO live in an age of instant information! Of course, not all Twitter posts that share about a current event are in the Public Domain, but an increasing number of them are, so I see this as an encouraging possibility!

Here is one more example of quality information I found from the Twitter stream now in the Public Domain. These insights are courtesy @paulhyland:

#hubspot First rule in “word of mouse” marketing – use the language of the people you’re trying to reach.

#hubspot – Second rule: no coercion required. Don’t trick people into clicking on your links. Back button third most used feature on web.

#hubspot Rule number 3 – don’t be afraid of your fans sharing your stuff. Example: Grateful Dead. FYI David Scott and HubSpot CEO Deadheads!

#hubspot – was that rule #4? If you want to reach an audience you need to go where they are.

#hubspot Rule number 5 – Create triggers to encourage people to share. Easy w/ AddThis/ShareThis. Or encouraging discussion/Q&A w/ hashtag.

#hubspot last rule: Play Nice. Not like 3M – used cool idea, didn’t want to credit originator, pay a little money, turned into PR disaster.

The conclusion I’ve come to so far with this new Twitter trend is to not discount it as no big deal. Yes, there will be a lot of useless posts that are released into the Public Domain, but that’s true in any case. My challenge to you (and to myself as well) is to look beyond the obvious and the useless to “see” the potential…to explore what may be waiting in the Twitter stream for you. And perhaps the most exciting aspect of this trend is that it means new content is being added to the Public Domain EVERY day!

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