I hadn’t ever thought of this before, but it’s true. It’s following a theme I am noticing lately where one idea gets huge, then someone else comes along and does it better. Prodigy had ISP until AOL came along. Yahoo had search, until Google came along. Myspace had social networking until Facebook came along? Twitter has microblogging until…comes alone.
MySpace had it…they had the idea…make a place where people can come and connect with one another, share ideas and keep up with the people in their lives who they don’t talk to on a regular basis, share photos, music, personal interests, etc. Then Facebook came along and made it work quicker, smoother, and slicker. People flocked to MySpace faster than MySpace was ready and it got messy. Facebook was ready and organized.
Now, Twitter has it. They have the idea. Create a place where people can come and connect with people they know, and (more often) people who share similar interests. In that small 140 character space, people can exchange ideas, links, photos, etc. But, like MySpace, they got too big too fast and weren’t prepared for it. They have been playing catch up ever since. So the only question is who will come along and be prepared for a mass influx of users; prepared with a quicker, smoother, slicker, more organized service?
It’s true, as Desai writes, that many people are just on Twitter to try to amass the most number of followers, just as on MySpace, people wanted the most friends. This idea made me question my own motives on Twitter and I came to the following conclusion:
Yes, I have been a little liberal with following people back who follow me. Yes, I have gone out and randomly followed people who are following people whose blogs I read on a daily basis. And, yes, I want a lot of followers. But, my motives for gathering these followers are purely selfish. It’s not out of a desire to be the most popular guy on Twitter, no, it’s out of a desire to get eyeballs on my blog. I want to build a strong reader base so that I can one day take this blog and show it to the folks at TechCrunch, or Read Write Web, or Mashable, or the like and say, “Look, I have a successful blog, won’t you pay me money to do this on a daily basis?” Or, even better, I gain a strong enough following in the Tech World that someone credible comes to me and says, “Hey, can I pay you money to do this everyday?” And then, instead of cutting out time in my life to write two articles a week, I can pump out 3-5 articles a day and drowned myself in Tech News…for the people…for my readers…for my bank balance.
That being said, if Twitter continues on the current path it’s going to become too trendy to be cool and will fall into obscurity with Z. Cavaricci, Skidz, the Reebok Pump, Vanilla Ice, and soon, MySpace. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am as big a fan of Twitter as anyone, and if I could, I would spend more time reading updates and trying to engage my followers. As it is, I can really only share articles I like through services like Twitthat! But, if history is telling us anything, quite soon, there will be another, even better micro blogging service that will do it right, and do it right from the start. And, as in the past, Twitter will be left to keep up with this new service as they continually innovate to meet the peoples’ needs. It will be made up of real people. It will be genuine. And, it will be good. So I am keeping my eyes open. I’m guessing Twitter will remain king for another year, maybe two, and then start to fade away. If they are smart, they will sell the service sometime mid-2010 to a big company (for way too much money) who is trying to attract the youth and be trendy…much like NewsCorp buying MySpace and it’s parent company.
Time will tell of this theory holds up; if history will repeat itself again. Does anyone out there know who might take the crown from Twitter?