The Real Reason Twitter Will Fail

Twitter is all the hype right now, you don’t need us to tell you that. For some odd reason, something as simple and basic as a one-liner blog site has captured the minds of the online world. For two minutes, put aside whatever feelings you may have on the matter. Good or bad, just set them aside for a couple of minutes and look at it from a different point of view.

Let’s take the best-case scenario here. Twitter continues to increase in popularity, and can handle any and all problems that come up with their system. Let’s assume Twitter keeps on booming. What happens next?

As with all other social networks, the goal of Twitter is connections. NeoSmart Technologies connects ideas, Twitter connects people. Now there are a billion people on Twitter: they check out each other’s profiles, and get to one-another. What then? They head off to each person’s blog, Facebook, or even MySpace to get in touch: leave one another messages, check out their friends, share ideas, photos, and videos.

At the end of the day, people are going to be leaving Twitter to go to their friends’ blogs and sites, and hooking up with them there. The point is, Twitter isn’t filling the void. It fills up a small portion of it, but not enough to satisfy. If at the end of the day, people are going to leave it for other sites, they’ll stop going back.

At the end of the day, you have a site that fulfills a complete social circle, and a site that doesn’t. While Twitter may provide a better experience for one-line bloggers, that doesn’t compare too well to a site that does decently well on all fields of social networking. That doesn’t mean Twitter won’t succeed though – only that it’s not going to be the be-all, end-all solution to solution networking.

Twitter is a slightly ingenious social networking startup. By making connections and being advertised by the right people, Twitter has made a jump too soon and too big. Social networks are supposed to go slow – building up momentum and structure all the while. Twitter has the momentum, but as far as structure goes, we don’t really feel that a one-line blog is enough.

So Twitter’s great. But it’s not that great, and anything that goes up too fast must go down. It’s something simple, but more importantly, it’s nothing unique. It’s something that any social network can do, as Facebook has for quite a long time now with the “My Status” feature. So long as Twitter is just a one-line thing, RSS Feeds and real social networks will prevail.

7 thoughts on “The Real Reason Twitter Will Fail

  1. At the end of the day, people are going to be leaving Twitter to go to their friends? blogs and sites, and hooking up with them there. The point is, Twitter isn?t filling the void. It fills up a small portion of it, but not enough to satisfy. If at the end of the day, people are going to leave it for other sites, they?ll stop going back.

    I completely agree with this statement.  I’ve already seen people send updates with a link to their blog post and asking their friends to read it.  When Twitter is used for that purpose, it’s basically like an intrusive RSS feed or micro marketing – “Hey, I’ve posted something on my blog and I want you to read it.”  Thanks, but that’s why I subscribe to your RSS feed – I’ll read it when I DECIDE to.  This behavior is already supporting what you’re saying – blogs will be where people really hook-up with their friends and get to know them, learn something, etc.

  2. It’ll wash over. Sooner or later, Twitter will be like Tello: Gone.

  3. There are two main questions: Will the collaboration theory of Web 2.0 kick in, and self heal the system? In other words, if people start using Twitter as an instrument for advertisement and substitute for RSS, then will they be able to maintain followers? If they keep doing that, eventually followers will let them go for people that use Twitter for better things….
    The other question is… when do you predict it will disapear? I doubt it will hapen anytime soon. Maybe it will be absorved by Google, Yahoo or other monster. Twitter’s growth and traffic is bigger (and naturally more explosive because of the nature of the technology) than Blogger’s.
    http://www.kottke.org/07/05/growth-of-twitter-vs-blogger

  4. Well, I personally believe in the “collaboration theory,” but that’s not exactly the problem.

    The problem is that RSS/Atom/JSON/whatever is an integral part of Web 2.0. If Web 2.0 is to “repair itself” via the least-destructive means, the logical solution would be for Twitter to get dropped out, not RSS or whatever.

    Web 2.0 is based around the idea of open communication between people and sites, sites and people, and sites and sites. While the first two can happen with Twitter, the latter can’t. But all three were doing just fine before Twitter came along, and will likely continue to do so with or without it; so long as Web 2.0 is alive and kicking.

    As the recent Facebook social ads fiasco shows, decentralization and separation of data from presentation is still the way to go – so Twitter ads will almost certainly not kick off.

    As it is, Twitter is no longer the be-all end-all it was orignally made out to be, and I’m sure even it’s authors will tell you that it’s not as important as they would like. No important decisions are being made on Twitter, news isn’t being broken there (because at the end of the day the people who are in a position to make headlines want the traffic directed to their sites and not Twitter) and you can like just fine without a Twitter account, or even visiting Twitter.com at all.

    Anyway, only time will tell, but judging by the current trends – Twitter is alive and well as a communication site, but not much more and is growing and more inconsequential by the day. Kind of like LinkedIn, in a way.

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