The future of Twitter?
Wednesday, March 14, 2007 by Dave Winer.
I was introduced to Twitter last summer at a dinner at Henrietta's Table in Cambridge by Ross Mayfield. I posted two or three notes using my Blackberry that evening and never did it again. I still receive SMS's from Ross on a regular basis, but (no reflection on Ross's value as a human being) I rarely even look at them. I imagine that other people may be vitally interested in his comings and goings, but not me.
Scoble loves Twitter, and I love Scoble, but I have never sent him an SMS, when I want to talk I generally ring his cell phone, get his voicemail, don't leave a message (as his welcome message requests) and a few minutes later he calls back. Sometimes if he's on a plane it might be a few hours. However if I were a Scoble fanboy, I would love that he posts every event in his busy life to his Twitter channel.
I'm very reluctant to dismiss Twitter as a passing fad, aware that many people said that about blogging, and I was sure they were wrong, and they were. Whenever so many people are so excited about something there must be some substance. It's the same reasoning that makes me reject the idea that George W. Bush is stupid. You don't get to be President and be stupid, and nothing frivolous gets to be as popular as quickly as Twitter has.
Jim Posner: "Wouldn't it be nice to receive a twitter when the lasagne is done?"
Paolo: "Is Twitter the RSS for people with not much to say?"
So this leads to many questions. What will Twitter look like next month, next year, three years from now? Will it evolve to a point and become exactly what chat is? Will there be competitors -- Twitterdum and Twitterdee? How about Twitter-A and Twitter-B? Did Twitter file for patents? Will they sell out? Obviously a company like Yahoo would love to own it. I'm sure they have already talked with each other.
What scaling walls will Twitter hit? Obviously the technology scales pretty well, it's not using a whole lot of CPU on the back end. Do they have to pay to dump SMS messages on the network, if so that's a scaling issue, for sure. What about human scaling? How many pizza deliveries on the other coast can you stand to be notified of before you unsub?
Michael Gartenberg says "no way" to business uses of Twitter, but be careful about that, I think there are real project management applications here, esp for geographically distributed virtual teams. I'm not just theorizing about that, I've used a similar tool to great advantage, managing a diverse team in Europe and North America. Whether Twitter is going in that direction is another matter. Only time will tell.