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The End of the Twitter As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

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Lifecycles and trendcycles keep getting faster and faster. Just as I was getting up to speed and offering some limited pontifications about the mini-phenomenon known as Twitter, its demise is already being predicted.

Twitter is a simple to use and potentially addictive service that allows you to post very short messages to groups of friends via web, phone, or SMS based upon the premise of what are you doing right now? So for example, I'm hopping over there at this very second and writing "I'm doing the bloggings" (check this at my personal Twitter page), which automatically sends that riveting message to all of my Twitter friends.

web1979, who claims to have "vintage 1979 eyes," boils the argument down to three points: there's no value (or no "there" there), it takes too much effort, and that key users or early adopters will bail.

While that's certainly possible, I think Twitter will be one of those things that stick around for the long haul, even when the buzz wears off. When I first wrote about Twitter, I was a little bit negative about it, so here's why I think it will be around far past 2007 (maybe even into 2008!):

  • It has useful applications for events and conferences (the buzz it garnered at SXSW this week will carry over to tech-centric and then business-centric conferences for years to come).
  • It's a very easy way for celebrities and politicians and industry leaders and bloggerati to stay in touch with fans and followers. It's pretty cool and says a lot about the candidate that John Edwards has been Twittering during his presidential campaign, for example.
  • The kids will use it, or The MySpace phenomenon if you like. As much as kids are attracted to social networking websites so that they can connect with one another while defining and expressing themselves, Twitter can act as a short cut to doing all of those things. Imagine high school home run circa 2007. What are you doing right now? I want to stick a fork in my eye. And so on.
  • The web goes mobile. The web-mobile connection can't be discounted here. The ability to post and receive posts via mobile device is really the key functionality that will give Twitter staying power.
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  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    I’m way more than a little skeptical. Too much work for me.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Too much work for me too, but I think that there’s a certain amount of people who are motivated to generate content, and a growing number of people who will be receptive to it.

    In the end it’s a boiled down, streamlined, “simple” way to do bloggy-SMS style messaging on multiple platforms, no more and no less. But that makes it versatile and thus the buzzy buzz.

  • http://eclecticlibrarian.net/ Anna Creech

    I’m having fun with it right now, but I have noticed that the Twitter site seems to be sluggish. Could be that the buzz has finally reached a point where there are more users than what they can handle well.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Was sluggish for me too this morning, Anna. That’s the “good problem” for start-ups with buzz, but it can turn into a bad one quickly!

  • http://desicritics.org Aaman

    I’ll use it only if Google buys it and integrates it into GMail.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Interestingly, you can do “twitter-like” messaging on gmail by changing the super short tag line on your username. That way you can quickly message your gmail obsessed contacts in a very casual way. It’s fascinating and a little bit strange to watch people chat with each other this way!