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.
“… 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.