Author: Michael Senger CEO, StoneMass
Twitter is technically speaking, a multi-platform blogging service. It was designed as a way to post short messages of 140 characters or less, to update your friends and network with your current “status”, i.e. “What am I doing right now?” or share insightful information, “Look at this great article.” Over the past year it has gained significant traction as a business tool with everybody from entrepreneurs, small business, and to larger companies like Dell and Comcast.
But has Twitter reached its peak in popularity and is this darling of social media waning? Naysayers have been predicting the demise of Twitter as early as 2007 but it is still around and generates a passionate following.
“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long….and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.” – Blade Runner
Let’s look at a real life example of a twitter account that you could subscribe to: The National Geographic Society. Here is a sampling of their ‘tweets’ over a six hour period.
1. Pluto Has “Upside Down” Atmosphere http://tinyurl.com/b4xkal
2. EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Rare Artifacts Return to Afghanistan http://tinyurl.com/arx4j63.
3. Whale giveaway 5! How many calories per day does the average blue whale need for survival? Be the first to answer and win a prize
4. Our final giveaway is happening at 3P et. Be the first to answer and win Nat Geo prizes
5. Near Costa Rica, scientists study a stronghold of the blue #whale. Read the Nat Geo Magazine article http://tinyurl.com/da4bqs
The assumption is that because I have signed up for their Twitter account, I am interested in all of these topics. The “Pluto Has ‘Upside Down’ Atmosphere” article sounds interesting but is that enough to sustain my interest in their twitter feed. And if I subscribe to a few other feeds, my cell text alerts will increase 10x fold. This may be a lot of information to digest.
It is also rare that a communication medium maintains such popularity when it is controlled by a private entity. Successful opensource mediums have open standards and work in a distributed fashion, for example: newgroups, email, webpages, etc. Twitter’s growth as the defacto social communication medium may be limited.
However, its private ownership makes it very attractive to suitors; Facebook had expressed interest in purchasing them and the latest suitor is Google. They are less interested in the technology but desire to absorb Twitter’s bloated subscriber network.
As long as the media loves twitter, and oh they do, then it will continue to generate news.
Twitter’s business model will change for the sole reason that eventually the audience will move to a new medium. It is the same reason we have abandoned malls for online shopping sites. Before that happens, Twitter will probably be acquired by another company. Any time you have a convergence of newness, mass popularity and little understanding you are liable to get an overrated, and very simple, technology. Twitter is not the first, and it will not be the last.
FYI: You can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/webmarketers