I am skeptical about all the hype around Twitter. I like Twitter and find that it’s an effective way of letting my followers know what I am up to, but it’s not much more than that. It’s not a great real time search engine. The information is too “spammy” and confusing.

The hype around Twitter reminds me about the hype around SecondLife a few years ago. SecondLife has turned into a great business, but it has not revolutionized the Internet or social networking. I suspect Twitter will become a successful business as well, if only by putting Adsense around its search results.

However, I have a hard time seeing it become more than that. It’s just not as useful as a site like Facebook. I had a similar criticism of SecondLife. Contrarily to a game like World of Warcraft, SecondLife has no objective which makes it harder to retain user engagement.

Comparing Facebook and Twitter, over 50% of Facebook’s 200 million active users login every day. 60% of Twitter users stop using it after a month. I personally find Facebook much more relevant to my personal life – I like seeing pictures, relationship status changes, etc.

They might confound me, but my bet is that will become a successful interesting site, but not much more than that.

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  • Although I agree with you that there is an overblown “hype” to twitter currently, much like there was to Second Life a few years ago, I disagree that twitter isn’t just “hype” right now. Because twitter is so popular right now, and so used right now, and so “hyped”, in turn, it is an extra effective powerful service to be highly involved in.

    When SL was hyped with the Anshe Chung Biz Week article, and people started coming into SL in droves to see what was up… those weren’t the ones that praised SL once they got there.. it was the people already highly involved that benefited from the influx. Same is occurring with twitter right now. Newer users or inactive twitter users aren’t finding as many benefits as the people that have already built up their network, and then felt the uprising in popularity.

    IMO ever site, and service goes through the same phases. When a site is at it’s peak, there’s a reason so many are praising it. It’d be a shame to miss the boat by exclaiming that it’s wiser to just pass it up. All of these services hit a peak and then fade into their niche. Myspace went up and then down. Twitter will do the same, but right now twitter is way up. Because SO MANY are using it RIGHT NOW, NOW is the time to be using Twitter, because IT IS WORKING.

  • I am not saying to pass it.

    1. It’s a good corporate communication tool.
    2. It’s a good way to tell friends what you are up to.

    However, I am suggesting that no one in their right mind should buy them for $1 billion.

  • Praise The Lord! You need a gig at Techcrunch. Twitter is no search engine. Their benefits of breaking news is minimal and can be misleading especially with the herd mentality of re-tweeting and the only time I found Twitter search useful was when my websites were down and I typed in Media Temple and saw the outrage from other Media Temple users – then again I could have simply checked the system status on the (mt) website. Unfortunately I disagree on Facebook I think that’s hype too, $15 billion valuation, $10 billion valuation, and irrational exuberance. Then again I don’t move in Valley circles to be swayed by the madness of the crowd. Time will tell.

  • Twitter have just replaced msn for me, it’s a new way to communicate. It’s also becoming a great Marketing tools for Companies, there are 3 000 000 tweets a day …

  • In March, I blogged around the same issue:

    Going back to the point on privacy and how Twitter and Facebook, my current thinking is that Twitter is really a feature that makes use of the social graph. It allowed a lower transaction-cost version of thet FB status update, before FB got to it. (Thanks, Ali for triggering the thought on this.) There’s a lot more intelligence on Facebook and from a social graph perspective, it will continue to lead. And the social graph is where it will finally convert its attention to value: as the identity layer of the internet.

    Here’s the full post:
    http://csertoglu.typepad.com/sortipreneur/2009/03/facebook-and-twitter.html

  • Twitter does everything right where Second Life failed. Second Life was amazingly heavy, requiring lots of computer, lots of bandwidth, and a commitment to client software; Second Life is a closed system, a walled city, completely invisible to serendipity and coincidence; Second Life is greedy, pushing avarice and commerce; Second Life is ephemeral and anti-textual, meaning that all of the work and all of the energy one spent on Second Life invariably went away the moment people stopped investing time and money into the platform. While there was a programming language, a scripting language, and lots of room for creativity, Second Life was not nearly as agnostic and open a platform as it could have been.

    On the other hand, Twitter is open, has a fantastically generous API (Open API as opposed to a Closed API), Twitter is highly textual, highly “contagious,” and very much real time.

    Google always wants to know it is up-to-date, that it is on top of everything. They’re constantly insecure that they will lose the war to upstarts, and when it comes to Zeitgeist 2.0 — real time trend-tracking and trend-recognition, Twitter moves even faster than “breaking news” scrawls and updates.

    The most famous example is the rapidity with which the Twittersphere responds to tragic events like earthquakes, tornadoes, and terrorist events like the shootings in #mumbai.

    For a second, let’s forget http://www.twitter.com and look at how differently people access and engage with Twitter. Not only can one interface via the web or via 40404 via SMS, as a human, but there are not hundreds of desktop clients, iPhone and smart phone apps, and through hundreds of 3rd party mash up and rehashing sites and services.

    That’s what’s funny: a large proportion of the API calls to Twitter there days aren’t even made by humans twittering all day long. I large proportion of calls to the servers are made by 3rd party search engines, are made by third party services that offer sundry services: finding friends, tracking news, graphing conversation, tracking searches, plotting trends, collecting metrics, following people, unfollowing people.

    In many ways, the Twitter platform has become almost a fungible INPUT / OUTPUT flow of data, like IP or like tap water, or like the electrical mains — all the creativity and all of the development is happening as a result of this relatively featureless and structureless raw platform.

    Everybody admits that the elegance of Facebook’s interface does an amazing job of hand-holding the diverse levels of technological prowess that Facebook users posses; however, Facebook shares many things in common with Second Life: it is a walled-garden, it is very cliquey and very hard to cross-pollenate, and finally — Facebook works very hard at defining what the user experience is to the best of its ability in a world where openness and open access can oftentimes work for you instead of against you.

    The biggest problem that Social Network Service and Online Virtual Communities make is being too invested in the outcome of how the community will grow and develop. In order to be successful in community development and community creation, one must be committed to the community and meeting their needs versus being committed to giving them what the community producer thinks the community wants and needs — often very different things.

    At the end of the day, Twitter has always been more like the cardboard box the toy can in than the toy itself — Twitter seems to have built the perfect box to play in and with until you decide what sort of toy you want to build — and then Twitter makes it possible for everyone and their brother to take a go at building the toy in the box, always just focusing on being the most amusing, easy-to-use, scalable, and compelling box possible.

    To me, Twitter is a lot like IRC from back in the day. When you install Inter-Relay Chat, there are no rooms and there are no members. Only by engaging and by creating rooms and groups (Twitter and IRC share the same conventions in terms of using the hash, #, to indicate a self-organizing group that only exists as long as people choose to use it.

    People who don’t get Twitter really have not spent enough time with it. There are tons of ways people can use Twitter. Many people use Twitter as an alternative to an RSS feed news reader, following the Twitter feeds of news organizations and news alerts, including links and so forth. Twitter doesn’t care how you use it: passive reading or active conversation.

    In fact, Twitter is such a neutral solution that you might very well forget that you’re a member, which is why there might be a perception that over 60% of all of the users who register never go back: Twitter doesn’t want to be too much trouble.

    Well, that’s all I got for now.

  • Well, “kids” don’t blog either. Kids won’t blog until they feel empowered enough to start creating on their own accord or until they find it useful — hell, “kids” might never ever take to Twitter, except that they will want to engage with TMZ Staffers on Twitter (@harveylevintmz @daxholt @ninaparkertmz @lmharris70 @carolynafenton @frankvelardo) because there will be loads of kids who will get on board to be able to stalk their favorite celebs and stars. But who knows. Rockers and fans are still on MySpace and the “kids” have yet to bail on Facebook (yet) so we’ll see what happens. It is very odd to see how the median age for blogging and twittering is much older than you would think: “the median age of a Twitter user is 31. In comparison, the median age of a MySpace user is 27, Facebook user is 26 and LinkedIn user is 40.7,” according to Pew, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/Twitter-and-status-updating/Part-1/Section-3.aspx?r=1

  • 1. It’s a good corporate communication tool.
    2. It’s a good way to tell friends what you are up to.
    However, I am suggesting that no one in their right mind should buy them for $1 billion.

    Well-put.

    However, while Twitter is cool. It appears to be poorly managed. And with this latest round of funding, there is no way their VCs will let them exit for less than $1b. Which won’t happen.

    BTW 10% of active users are responsible for over 90% of all Tweets.

    Source: http://adjix.com/em2y

  • I fully agree with you. I do not understand this buzz with Twitter. I am not a fan of the system with the followers. It is too spammy for me. You can manage with a mobile phone your blog directly through email (I do it) and it is more convenient than Twitter.

    And I do not understand their business model. How can they earn money without advertising ?

  • I agree, I prefer Facebook. Much more complete.

    I liked your interview in USA Hebdo on BFM by the way.

  • I stopped using twitter after 2 days… I much rather use Facebook! To be honest I never really saw the interest in using Twitter.

  • […] could not convince all its registered users, as many of them only tweeted once and then drop it, as Fabrice Grinda stated in his […]