Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep

OK. Despite the fact I bemoaned this very web service a few weeks back I have since signed up and sent…

Actually, hold up a minute.

You know, I have stood infront of a room full of strangers, the midst of a presentation on blogging, and said “I hate the word blogging”. Blogging is an ugly word. UG-LEEEEE. Throw in… ohh god.. “blogosphere” and I’m practically retching.

Thankfully, “twitter” brings to mind birds chirping at dawn, or perhaps a chorus of ladies-wot-lunch. Either way it’s not that bad a word. Alas the surrounding verbiage is already starting to grate. Do I really “tweet” when I send a message to Twitter? REALLY? I digress.

Meg recently pondered the explosive growth of Twitter:

“… the Twitter value proposition is thousands of people answering one simple question: “what are you doing right now?” All these tangential services and derivative extensions are in danger of warping that proposition entirely, turning Twitter into a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.”

Which, to a point, is true, but as I suggested in her comments, I think that “warping that proposition” is entirely within the business plan for Twitter, and is probably the only reason that it exists.

One of the co-founders of Twitter is Evan Williams, who was also one of the people behind the creation of Blogger. This is not a coincidence. When it was created, Blogger was a tool, pure and simple. It did not care what you were using it for, it just made publishing to the web easy and was hugely successful. I remember when I first signed up, I spent most of the first day publishing one or two line posts just because I could.

At present (or perhaps a few weeks ago), Twitter is the same. It’s a way of quickly publishing a short ‘post’. However, as it builds on the foundations laid out by Blogger, and with the ability to manipulate the information both sent TO and received FROM the Twitter website, the value proposition is much much greater.

Ultimately, I do not believe that Twitter was designed around “what are you doing right now?”. Whilst the potential for that kind of website is large, as evidenced by the huge growth in the past six months (I’m presuming it’s still rising), it remains limited by usage, as soon as people start getting bored or the next ‘big thing’ comes along, they’ll be off. So, for a service like Twitter, it has to be ALL ABOUT the tangential services and derivative extensions, for without them where else would Twitter go?

Don’t get me wrong, the “what are you doing right now?” message is a smart piece of marketing, breaking a potentially complicated product down to a simple proposition that everyone can understand, and of course for many people Twitter will remain as it is now. Yet for many others, and again the evidence is there in the growing number of extensions and websites all piggybacking on Twitter, the potential to exploit Twitter as a communications service is huge and it’s looking like it might just be possible that Twitter will break the barrier and finally, properly, pull your mobile phone into your “web” life/persona.

Ohh it’s not about the website. Not really. It’s about accessing information, short chunks of information. Monitoring Twitter using a news reader (via RSS feed) is ideal, posting can be done using a small bookmarklet

As for me, yes I’ve signed up, yes I’ve sent… tweets (kill me now), and yes I’m already getting a little bored with it. Partly because it’s not part of my “publishing lifecycle”, and partly because I’m still waiting to see just where it’s headed. Until then, you can find out what I’m doing right now on my Twitter page.

6 comments

  1. Do you honestly think it was business model to allow all these other uses?

    I think it was more of the lines of

    Make twitter cool.
    Make twitter shareable (api etc) with other things because that’s the right way to do things.
    See what happens.

    I eat your hat if there was a document somewhere that said the path to future success and monitization of twitter is by allowing tnagetial services to develop.

    I’d be less surprised if their wasn’t a lot of “Wouldn’t it be cool if …” in a bar

  2. Who said it had to be a document?

    Make twitter shareable IS a business model, it presumes that people will WANT to communicate to/from twitter. I’m not suggesting the plan is more than that, I’m just saying I think was always more than just a “way for people to say what they are doing right now”.

    Sure, the “it’d be cool if..” stuff probably drove that, but regardless of what you call it, any common ideas around that area are still a business model.

    Remember, a document is only a delivery mechanism for information!

  3. A business model is a plan of how to make money.

    An idea is not a business model it’s an idea. Ideas that make money are still just ideas. They only look like a business model retrospectively.

    SMS (the original SMS on cell phone networks not the use of by twitter) for example was never a business model still it started making money. Now it is.

  4. Thankfully, “twitter� brings to mind birds chirping at dawn, or perhaps a chorus of ladies-wot-lunch.

    And they also keep you awake at 4am with their nonsense…

  5. I don’t know if it’s because I’m too old, no longer hip and with it or just a plain old billy no mates but I just don’t get the point of twitter. I’m not really interested in A’s comments on B’s website/blog unless I am A or B and if it’s really interesting they’d surely blog about it themselves.

  6. Oh god. Not Twitter. I don’t understand the point of it. (Well, I can, but I can’t really see the overwhelming appeal of it. I hate things that get too popular.)

    I’ve twittered (I prefer that to tweet) three times on a shared account and I’m so over it. (Excuse the Americanism).

    (And the amount of brackets!)

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