Twitter. What is it and what can it become?

The speed at which the communications business is accelerating has us all playing catch up. New platforms and applications developed around them have us all scrambling to understand the new landscape to stay on top of what's "cool".

The iPhone is perhaps the best example of a communications device built on an open platform that has generated an industry onto itself, blossoming with tens of thousands of apps and billions of downloads.

Then there's Twitter. The great disruptor. An invention of our time that will likely join the ranks of failed inventions.


As a communications channel, Twitter is a one trick pony. Handily, it can broadcast a simple message to a closed loop of followers. In doing so several applications can track the noise or "buzz" on any subject and quickly update the masses on what's "hot".... that is of course if you care to stay glued to a computer screen or mobile app all day long.

A few days ago, TechCrunch released notes on internal documents it somehow secured from Twitter. The documents revealed the musings of a group so heavily invested in the bloated success of the platform that it could provide comic fodder for Saturday Night Live.

For the moment Twitter is a fun toy ... soon, I'm afraid, to be cast aside like many of the others. Follow this link to a test on failed inventions for a bit of comic relief.


Unknown said...

Paul - interesting perspective on Twitter - with so many devices competing for users time-apps need to provide real value to survive - perhaps if mobility becomes the standard in the U.S. short messaging will be the communication of preference - great link on past inventions - (I still want a rocket pack) :) -Joe

Anonymous said...

I agree with your observation--to me, Twitter is like small black and white TV, while Facebook is the 50" HI-DEF. Still not sure why Twitter gets all the recent hype-and still can't believe CNN allows(monitored) Twitter "crawls" beneath their programming. They will regret making that decision very soon, just like I regret the Tux I picked out for my senior prom.

Phil Moldavski said...

Interesting bear-ish take on Twitter, Paul. I used to have similar opinions about Twitter - that it is essentially a fad, but have changed my mind over the course of using it in the past months. The beauty of Twitter is that it provides true value in a customized manner to just about anyone. For me, it is the value of being able to essentially pick the minds of some of the most brilliant people in an industry I follow and potentially to be able to reach out to begin a dialogue with them. For someone else it may be discovering what place their favorite celebs might be at. The point being, as long as Twitter continues to allow me to cherry pick information that I specifically want to know, I will keep using it. Continued use means they will figure out the monetization strategy sooner or later. When they get cash flow going, they will have more and more incentive to make sure the service stays relevant and cutting edge.

Paul Benjou said...

I appreciate your comments but must point out that Twitter's monetization can only come from two sources ... the user (good luck!) and personal data collection for ad targeting.
MySpace hasn't figured it out and neither has Facebook. It's doubtful that Twitte will.
I also have a problem with ads running on social networks and view them as "interference"... something marketers will figure out soon enough. There are better ways to build relationships between marketers and consumers.