It’s no secret that twitter is the current media darling and most popular up and coming “web 2.0” website. Twitter, in its simplicity, is honestly a very valuable application. It has done everything from help a student who was arrested in Egypt get released, provide amazing data for the swine flu hysteria, and help bring much more awareness to the current Iranian conflicts during this years presidential elections. Originally, I was cautious of the practically of a service such as twitter. I was content with my facebook status updates. Twitter won! I am drinking the kool-aid. Everyday, I see new uses for it. I am constantly finding new music, learning new photoshop and SEO tricks, and finding out when other colleagues in the corporate world are taking their afternoon bathroom breaks.
Personally, I don’t update often on twitter. I believe I have some valuable insights and opinions, but I am not organized, nor do I have the time, to constantly update my status with ideas, opinions, and what I am eating for lunch. One day, I hope my economic situation allows me the success and time to devote a decent amount of time to participating in the constant information exchange revolution that is in our midst, but I am not sure if twitter will still be the micro-blogging leader when that day comes.
Twitter is great, Oprah uses twitter, Shaq uses it too, but for how long? Twitter is still a VC funded startup with no current long-term profit model. I am not naive, I know both internally, and in the news, analysts are predicting ways for twitter to become a profitable media giant. Until this model is released, there is no long-term certainty twitter will last longer than a few more years. Granted, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, or any other tech giant could offer the tremendous fee to acquire twitter. But I am hesitant that any company will fork over the large sums of money required until there is a real profit model.
Additionally, there are rumors that twitter has a 40% fall off rate after initial sign-up. Analysts are speculating that 2 out of 5 people that sign up for twitter only tweet once and never come back. This is understandable. If you look at how many soccer moms signed up the day Oprah put her first tweet online, you would be completely shocked. As Oprah goes, so goes the a large percentage of women. She has that much power. Some believe that many people sign up for twitter, think it’s just another way to tell their friends what they’re doing, and don’t use it again. This is honestly a great possibility, but as I said in my opening, I don’t tweet every day and I still find great value in the use of twitter. I wonder how many people are out there that actively use twitter and either don’t actively update their status OR may not sign up at all. These are just a few thoughts that I will have to research in the very near future. I will post these results as soon as I have some proven statistics to back up my findings.
Moving on, as twitter gains prominence, every person who was pissed off that they didn’t think of twitter first is now trying to create their own twitter… only better. Enter tumblr, etc. etc. etc. There probably hundreds of new twitter clones on the internet by now. Can one of these clones actually offer better or similar features and gain enough market share to present a real challenge? This is very possible, and tumblr could have a chance. tumblr has some great functionality and encompassed everything I would want in my micro-blogging suite including easy access to video, images, quotes, etc. I think the GUI of tumblr is also very well laid out and could possibly start to gain a substantial market share. Will this turn into a big myspace vs. facebook battle? I don’t know. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if the premium is too high for companies to acquire twitter, they make take a very close look at one of twitters main competitors, especially if one has a decent share of the market. I firmly believe that within the next year Google will own twitter, tumblr, or something similar. If they don’t, they will have something developed in house similar to what’s already being developed in Google Profiles. Google needs to own micro blogging the way it owns us with gmail, youtube, and search. At the end of the day, Google will choose the winner. Whether they pick twitter, tumblr, or create their own. Google will win again.