His genius was to tie his very highly developed tech mind to the idea of social networks.
Many of us mere mortals recognized the Internet as what we had been longing for, even way back in the 80's. I'll never forget walking through the Reed College library and seeing that Netscape icon rolling along for the first time. I immediately looked some things up, and even that amount of information, which was, by today's standards, a meager haul of information, was a breakthrough.
Dorsey's insight was that there needed to be interconnections among individuals along social network lines, which was the insight of Facebook, too. What Twitter gives is immediacy. I have a very small number of people I follow on these media, because I think it can all get out of hand. Better a few contacts. This cuts down on redundancy. Also, my Twitter feed is quite slow. If I were following a lot of people it would just be rushing by. I'll bet I have the fewest followers of anyone on Twitter. 14, and that's enough!
While the uses of these things are perfectly understandable for me, designing them is something I would never be able to do. So Dorsey is a rare combination of geek and people person (though somewhat introverted, it would appear.)
I just wish that these people were not able to amass so much money. There is something very wrong about that. Even if they give it away, the vast amounts they can spend on their pet ideas distort things. They also tend to love the poors (busses! colorful panhandlers!) and each other (yachts! houses costing millions!) but don't have much use for the boring old middle class. Mom and Dad in the burbs they came from!
The above is my Thomas Frank imitation for the day. It's a fun way to write. Don't take it serious.I do get annoyed at high class hicks like Dorsey taking over what I believe to be my city. When I was a little girl I saw the bison in Golden Gate Park (only I believe we called them buffalos.). They were shedding their coats and looking dispirited. They also smelled. Dorsey sees the herd (still there, amazing!) and sends out a proto-tweet about his experience, basically saying, I'm in Golden Gate Park. I see bison.
And have a fine, fine day, everyone.