Archive for September 28th, 2009

Where does Twitter go from here?

September 28, 2009

Down, I think.

Yeah sure, they got a $100 million in investment capital (jeez, 1999 deja vu all over again?) and a capitalization of $1 billion. Their timing was superb, if not incredibly lucky because now the word is building that their phenomenal growth rate has slowed or completely stalled.

The innovation they brought to communications was and is hugely important. Even though they didn’t intend it, Twitter has done more than anyone or anything to bring the capability of virtually instant communication to the crisis communication and emergency management world. For that I am very grateful, and the citizens and consumers receiving much better, faster, more relevant content from the organizations important to them are grateful as well.

But, unlike Facebook, their innovation was shallow. Basic functional capability (text-to-webpage, sign up followers, auto distributions) are readily available in a multitude of ways. And Twitter was saddled by a focus on “I’m eating a ham sandwich” messaging. Maybe that’s where the traffic is maybe that’s where the dollars will end up showing up once the venture community comes to its senses. But they didn’t address some fundamental needs that those who wanted to use it for more than sandwich and coffee chatter really needed.

The real problem they are facing is that even the constant feed of sandwich and coffee messaging gets tiresome. Very few of Twitter users continue to use it consistently. And I’m guessing that even those who have adopted it as part of their lifestyle (like my daughter and her husband) may find it tiresome after a bit as well. Maybe not.

My guess is something else is out there aborning. Maybe that will have its 15 minutes of fame, or maybe even change the world more substantially. We shall see.