Twitter is in an interesting period of its development. By all accounts, it is still a very popular site, ranking 12th in the world and US according to Alexa. That said, the honeymoon period seems to be over as Facebook and Google have upped their social networking game and new players such as foursquare and Gowalla have entered the fray. If Twitter wants to remain one of the most important websites in the world, it’s going to have to do two things: innovate and make money!
In this edition of the Tues News, we’ll examine Twitter at this crucial stage and see whether recent goings on seem to point to a bright or dim future for the masters of the mini blog. Let’s get going!
- As I mentioned above, Twitter needs to make money, obviously, if it wants to survive. Google proved that ads can drive a search engine; Facebook proved that ads can drive a social network. Since Twitter is a little bit of both, it could be assumed that, if done properly, a proprietary ad system on Twitter could bring it into the black. Well, according to Peter Kafka, we will probably see such a platform in mid-April. It will be very interesting to see how this is rolled out, how advertisers will be able to interact with it and how effective such a medium can be. In Google and Facebook, ads benefit from being very targeted and from a plethora of impressions. Will Twitter be able to duplicate these success stories? [All Things D]
- Making money may not prove to be particularly difficult for Twitter in the short run. Twitter’s real time search function should prove novel, if not valuable to advertisers and I’m sure that there will be some clamoring to be one of the first to use Twitter as a marketing vehicle. That doesn’t help the innovation issue, though. Twitter, aside from a few tweaks here and there, is very similar its iteration from a few years ago. They’ve added lists, a search box and easier interaction with hashtags and that’s about it. At South by Southwest, Twitter announced its first big innovation in a while, dubbed “@anywhere” but failed to really wow the crowd. The new @anywhere function is supposed to serve the purpose of getting more users involved as well as making the site more user friendly. The reaction of the crowd, as well as the Twitterers taking note online, was far from complimentary. Hopefully, it will be more successful in practice than in theory. [Wired.com]
- Remember when Google used to use that reassuring “Don’t be evil?” Nowadays, you really only hear about that motto in the form of Google’s competitors using it against them because, you know, Google can very easily be criticized for not adhering to their own slogan. Well, it seems that Twitter’s new slogan is pretty similar: “Be a force for good.” For the most part, I think it’s a bad idea for a corporation to try and instill morality into their mantras. Corporations exist to make money, if any good is done along the way, that’s generally a happy coincidence. Now, it’s true that Twitter played a role in uniting people during the Iran Revolution, however, it also provides a mouthpiece to the world for the likes of Paris Hilton. I’m sorry but how does facilitating tweets like this constitute “being a force for good”:
Bye Boston! Now driving 6 hrs to Philly in a stretch limo so @CarlaDiBello and I can sleep the whole way! Watching Casino 2 fall asleep.
Can’t we just agree that, at best, Twitter is likely a “force for neutral” at best? [TechCrunch]
Twitter is at a real crossroads, not in terms of its success but in terms of its identity and future impact. My guess is that it will do fine on the monetary front, however, its future as one of the most influential websites of this new decade will be determined by innovation. I can’t guess as to whether or not Twitter will be looked back upon with reverence or with disappointment, I can only proffer that based on the most recent news out of their San Francisco HQ, the future is cloudy.
Thanks for stopping by. Read up on and keep up with the online world; keep reading Tues News! Catch ya later!