Just another “Twitter is dead. Vive la Twitter.” post

—  the Internets circa late-2012 — Twitter is dead. Again. Some more.

Founded in the mid-aughts this former SxSW standout is going the way of MySpace and other social networks before it, shutting down its services last Sunday.

The 140-character micro-blogging service, once popular with social media marketing types, Twitter never quite caught on with the rest of the connected world.

Cause of death – heavily debated among industry experts, insiders and other ne’er-do-wells – has been attributed to complications from unrealized potential and a questionable business plan, outmoded monetization strategies and failed expansion of the primary service itself.

Its 200+  million users will be inherited by:

  • The 800-lb gorilla aka Facebook that’s become a one-stop portal for all things social.
  • LinkedIn, the ‘professional’ network, has adapted to offer more on the ‘social’ side of things.
  • FriendFeed. Having lurked in the background for years, FriendFeed learned from Twitter’s mistakes. Understanding different professional vs. personal audiences, FF gives more control without requiring users to get a post-graduate degree in privacy settings.

No flowers or donations are requested, as owners should have plenty of VC money squirreled away somewhere.

Gini Dietrich casually commented that she wants to find other ways to engage and build blog traffic because she thinks Twitter is not long for this world.

“I believe Twitter is going to die an untimely death and then I’ll be stuck with a loss of 30 percent of our traffic overnight.”

Rumors of future death somewhat exaggerated

Damn! I like Twitter, think it’s a little soon to pull the plug but in its current form, Twitter needs to improve to survive. If the #1 tip on how to use and get the most from your product or service is to in fact NOT use YOUR product or service, you have a problem.

Casual users may be fine with the web interface, but power users – in theory, where the money is – are using TweetDeck, HootsSuite, anything but ‘real’ Twitter.

How do you build on that when it’s others adding usable form, function, and therefore value? And if everyone’s going around you, how do you cash in and start making some money?

Some of the latest moves – upgrades to a new web interface; Tweetie as ‘official’ iPhone app, trying to stop the proliferation of coattail-riding 3rd-party apps; the possible acquisition of TweetDeck (whether it’s good or bad); are all steps in a direction, probably the right one.

Show me the money

Its user base may be smaller than other networks and its growth slowing, yet former haters are now feeling the like; Twitter has SOMETHING. There’s gold there, just have to figure out how to mine it.

The selling of eyeballs. Companies make money giving away free iPhone apps selling ads most of us ignore. Can’t remember the last time I paid attention to an ad on YouTube, other than to reduce it out of my way. Not sure I’ve ever deliberately clicked a FB ad, but theoretically these all make someone some money.

Pay to Tweet? How do you scale that, like some smartphone data or texting plans? I shudder at the thought. Maybe I would pay, but no.. not when there are serviceable free alternatives. I’m cheap.

Twitter Pro. For us industry types, increased functionally –  backend stuff like analytics – might be worth the buy-in. Would that hurt the SMB marketers, a big chunk of its ‘customers’? Maybe there will be Free, Basic, Pro and ProLux levels, where only global brands can afford the Twitter: Fully Loaded edition.

Clearly I don’t have the answer, much less a crystal ball b/c if I did I’d have done won the lottery. I think it’s too soon to call time of death, but without making some money soon… maybe one foot in a shallow grave, the other on a banana peel of untenable strategy.

You tell me, do you see Twitter going gently into that good cyberspace sky?

Photo credit: Love how the Geek and Poke comics are a few years old. Heh.

Want More? Keep Reading.

32 thoughts on “Just another “Twitter is dead. Vive la Twitter.” post

  1. Hi Davina

    I so hope it is just another rumour LOL Cos I do enjoy my visits and interaction with fellow Tweethearts 🙂

    And I haven’t really got into the whole FB thing! I know I should but Twitter and me seem to get along a whole heap better 😉 And being a technophobe I relied on a marketing friend to set me up with all the right apps when I first entered the fray of social media.

    It all works for me so I’m not changing any of it any time soon.

    Patricia Perth Australia
    Patricia recently posted..Alexa- have I upset or offended you!

    1. I am on FB Patricia, but it’s personal as I like to keep it separate. Just do. I only go by so often, glance at the stream.. just other things to do with my time besides playing Farkle. It’s evil, do not play that game. 😉 I do NOT spend all day on Twitter. I am trying to get better about scheduling.. and also making more time to do more chatting with people, do a little more than tweets and RTs of links. Think there’s a balance in there somewhere. As to the apps, that’s why I am curious as to Twitter’s moves with TD, why I shared old posts of people predicting Twitter to die a couple years ago. Growth may be stalling, they may not have caught on w/ everyone or made tons of money .. but there’s a big YET at the end of that. Just not sure how or what that looks like, so long live Twitter. FWIW.

  2. **sigh** Yet another thing I’m late to the party for…please don’t speak of Twitter’s demise just as I was beginning to love it! 🙂
    You know, I loved Marcus’ post on Spin Sucks about hating Twitter’s stinking guts because it was SO my story. It was a rocky start for me and Twitter and I have to say that what I used to be baffled by is what I love about it now – the simplicity. As others have mentioned, MySpace was waaay too cluttered and Facebook, IMO is just TMI. I agree that the Twitter interface leaves something to be desired, but I find separate apps such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite a bit busy also, plus they seem to slow down my system. I think the new Twitter/Tweetdeck combo might be the right tweak that’s needed for Twitter to stay relevant and useful to us newbies and power users alike. Simple, clean and quick.
    I do wonder though, if Twitter will ever go beyond being a sort of “in” club for those who get it. Like Brian, I don’t have many friends IRL who are on it and the few that are rarely use it – they’re all on FB instead.
    Tisha | tMedia recently posted..Why Having Low Traffic to Your Blog is a Good Thing

    1. I hear you Tisha and there’s been a thought rummaging around my head on the difference in FB and Twitter.

      Like you said, FB is TMI.. but IMO it’s b/c that info isn’t relevant to me. An old high school buddy loved their lunch, ok then; it’s nice to see pictures of all the kids, but I don’t need updates every day. Twitter is about interests, mine. I choose who I follow, which brands and those people b/c they make me laugh, smarter and better at my job, hopefully will send me free iPads and what not. I get more out of Twitter b/c I put more into it, more work making it relevant to me. If that makes sense. IDK.. I think maybe FB is the reunion, nice to catch up but you don’t really need to visit those folks everyday. Twitter is then the school or ‘in club’ and you look forward to what each day brings, always something new.

      So like you I hope it doesn’t go away, I hope they keep TD as is or make improvements that add more value. The simple and clean works, but I do like the functionality of the apps. FWIW.

      1. I think you hit the nail on the head, Davina (or NOTH ;-)), it’s about getting out of it what you put into it. I lost interest with FB because as you said, after the initial catch-ups (oh, wow, you still look great!!) the time spent on FB seemed boring and a bit of a chore because it wasn’t really relevant to me. And I didn’t want to spend the time making it so. Twitter, on the other hand seemed easier to just go, hang out and gradually get to know people. Like a little office party everyday.
        (and, btw, forgive me for just barging in with my comment before introducing myself – I’ve just seen you around the blogosphere so much that I felt like I already knew you! Anyway, nice to meet you and glad to finally chat!):-)
        Tisha | tMedia recently posted..Why Having Low Traffic to Your Blog is a Good Thing

        1. And you pick your party Tisha, office or home or sports bar, or a mix of anything you want. I have other ‘play’ account for different interests that will probably fade away some day, but right now.. they’re that personal outlet for me. I get to chat and vent about whatever I want; not worry about my personal brand, just goof off, have fun with whomever I meet. No matter what you like, what interests you.. there’s probably a group of folks chatting about it online and via Twitter, just gotta find them. 🙂

  3. Ah Davina, please don’t say Twitter is dying! I haven’t even got hold of “The Tao Of Twitter” yet 😉

    Seriously, it’s worth knowing that even the coolest, most popular places to hang out can disappear in the space of minutes. Twitter might suddenly get hacked and be down for a day, a week, a month. What will the Tweet-heads do then? Go onto Facebook and feel dirty about it? Dive into other places like Digg and Delicious because they can’t bear to be away from social media activity?

    I think it’s important to remain detached from one mode of operation. I use Twitter and Facebook, but I don’t RELY on them. If they both disappeared, that’s cool, I still have blog comments and e-mails to network with. The world will keep on spinning.

    I know you like acronyms Davina, so here’s one for you, KUTAW. If you figure it out, I will worship you 😉
    Stuart recently posted..20 Bloggers Who You’d Want To Comment On Your Blog

    1. Keep You .. A while? Gotta think on that Stu. Hmm.. I know we’d find other ways to chat and share. My guess is we’d throw blog parties, everyone go to someone else’s house for the days chatting and gabbing. Good times for all. 🙂

      I don’t think it’s going away either but do see dangers if something isn’t done about making money. If FB does solve the privacy settings, let people have one account but have some REAL controls for the professional/personal balance; or just someone else could come up with a way to do it better.. Twitter as we know it could be in trouble. But then again, for all we know they have a plan.. starting w/ getting us hooked on their 140-character crack. FWIW.

    2. Stuart, that’s a grounded attitude, I completely agree. The coolest thing about Twitter to me: It’s so simple, that it encouraged people to “blog” who otherwise wouldn’t, albeit it’s micro-blogging. In turn, a lot more people are into social media than would have been otherwise, and we have more blogs than otherwise. All this has contributed to a sea-change in the way people look at media. It doesn’t matter what “the media” says… we ARE “the media,” so it matters what WE say!

      Like I told Davina, Twitter is a gateway drug to other social media.

      Who knows what will become of it. No matter what, I’m grateful to the changes it was part of.

      Keep up the awesome … !
      @barrettrossie recently posted..11 business reasons to try Twitter

  4. Davina, your blog rocks!

    I’m a big fan of Twitter, though I’ve only been neck deep in it for a few months. Its simplicity makes me think it will survive. It’s a tool, like a hammer. Pretty basic, but some people know to use it, usually in conjunction with other tools, to make something beautiful.

    Some of those users are very creative, and some very workmanlike. The thing about simplicity — it also implies flexibility.

    OK, I’m straining here on the analogy.

    I don’t think Twitter’s going away any time soon.
    @barrettrossie recently posted..11 business reasons to try Twitter

    1. Thanks Barrett, always nice to read. Some networks and tools have bit the dust, AOL as it once was went obsolete and has been buying different things to become solvent, relevant again. I don’t think Twitter is going away either, I think it has to evolve to survive and of course, in the general direction of a payday.

      Twitter is a tool like any other, and simple is tricky.. IMO it was the simple, cleaner interface of FB that wooed folks from MySpace; simple helped Google win the search wars; simple and flexible, adaptable to the users .. that’s Apple to me, which made has made some rather complicated tools and gadgets a simple joy to use. Now I’m struggling with the analogy. 😉 FWIW.

  5. Great post Davina. Well Twitter is getting long in the tooth if you view it through the Internet Life Cycle Prism.

    However, recent current events have shown the power of Twitter and the influence it can wield (OBL Raid Live Tweeting, Middle East Revolutions, Japanese Earthquake). So, like you mentioned in the article, if the current management can’t find the gold I bet the next owner will.
    Mike Meikle recently posted..Local Interest- Smart Grid in the Old Dominion

    1. Mike, Situations and events absolutely define our experiences as does technology. I think the plane on the Hudson + the popularity of smartphones just MADE Twitter. Agree that recent events show its power and influence, no doubt. Which is why I think there IS money there, an audience and so much untapped potential.. that yes someone will find. I hope. Thanks.

  6. I am not a guru on social media. The people I follow and who follow me, are avid users. The spammers and ‘follow me, I’ll follow you’ crowd get blocked immediately. So my twitter world is extremely biased. It seems alive and healthy to me. That being said, I don’t know anyone in the real world who uses it. I have 1200 people, who I follow and interact with, and only 3 or 4 are real world friends.

    It seems that FB is truly the space for people we know, but Twitter is for meeting new people. I find having a place to explore and make new friends to be incredibly valuable. Twitter is where I met Gini, it is where I found all of the people I guess blog for, it is where I go to share my triumphs and failures. Twitter is important in my life.

    I hope it doesn’t die. I think that acquiring Tweetdeck was a good move. Thanks for the warning though. 🙂

    1. Brian, I HEART this comment. My ‘real’ friends do not use Twitter; many are not on Facebook and a few have left. They tease me ‘oh blogging.. ugh’ and I’m like, how many YouTubes did you watch today? How many fanfics you read? BTW that site you like so much, it is a ‘blog’. TEHO. But I always point that out when folks are all “you MUST market via Twitter and Facebook” and I’m like NO. Not everyone is there.. maybe friends of friends are but not everyone is social where and how we think.

      Anyway.. yes buying TweetDeck is probably a smart move and no I don’t think it’s really going to die. It’s death was called a couple years ago, didn’t happen. If anything what I think may die is the ‘current’ Twitter and hopefully something better, smarter will be around for a while.

  7. Hi Davina,

    I’m also a Twitter fan, so I should be preparing for the worst. I knew MySpace would fall. And I’ve been telling friends and family that Facebook would eventually be replaced by something “cooler”–at least in the high school/college demographic that will always be looking for the next best thing.

    As I see it, Twitter has the opportunity right now to re-make itself into a powerhouse of capabilities that will satisfy those power users who have turned to other applications. If Twitter doesn’t act fast, I’m afraid it will die. But I’m pretty sure something else will come along if that happens.

    Marianne Worley recently posted..Origins of an Entrepreneur- Lessons from the Lemonade Stand

    1. Yeah, it’s a good thing they have time to think about it as things don’t move too fast in this arena, huh?………………..NOT……….

      You had me thinking about those Checker fries but I’m going to be a good boy and go get a tuna sub from Subway today; mmmmmmmm…….
      Bill Dorman recently posted..Well- that was awkward…

        1. My point exactly Marianne. First thing I show anyone is some sort of Twitter app so they can learn about searching, hashtags, build lists based upon interests and topics, etc. It’d almost be like me setting up your iPhone.. but teaching you the best way to use it is to go around iTunes, ignore the App Store, install this other product, these other things, etc. IDK.

          I know I’ve read suggestions of a primer or start pack, maybe when folks new to Twitter enroll, they check off some interests and topics, times of usage and how.. then they get a few recommendations for follows. But it’s not enough when I think some folks join, tweet their love of bacon, expect a flood of replies but hear crickets and then bail. It IS work which for many may be part of the problem.. they want it to be ‘fun’ like FB. Maybe.

    2. The reason I never bothered with MySpace I think Marianne was that I didn’t like the design/interface. Too messy. FB was just cleaner, simpler. Now I held out on FB not wanting to live my life quite so publicly, but then realized I could just limit what I posted. I think a new Twitter could be the next cool thing, just can’t foresee what it’ll look like. For something else to come along and take its place, it’d have to do everything and then some – better, faster, smarter, more flexible and maybe with free ice cream too. 😉

      1. I have a brother and a sister who are still in college, so if I want to stay in close contact with them online, I have to use the tools they use. A few years back, their world revolved around MySpace. I never really used it for anything but staying in touch with them and exchanging photos. My sister is the one who built the page for me…huuum, maybe I should delete it.

        Facebook is kind of similar for me. Just another tool, but it does help my family stay connected. I haven’t put much effort into it…sigh.
        Marianne Worley recently posted..History in 140 Characters or Less

  8. That is a good question; locally, I have seen quite a few people I know get into it and then disappear. For the most part I think their downfall was being one-sided social media. Will they ever come back?

    If not, how many other people will go through this? Or, if they are bringing in enough new people who figure it out and ‘get it’, will it become too mainstream like FB and turn people off? I’m not saying FB has turned people off, but I don’t spend much time on it…..that’s where I picked up some stalkers and it wasn’t cool at all…..turned it into a big yuck for me.

    I think the jury is still out; in it’s present state it probably needs some help. One way or another I think if we have made it this far we will be adapters to whatever is the next ‘big’ thing.

    What do you think?
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Well- that was awkward…

    1. Bill, it’s different strokes. Honestly I don’t get the big deal with Facebook. Maybe it’s b/c I’m self-centered don’t care to dig into the lives of old high school friends to know too much more about what they’re currently up to; maybe it’s b/c I don’t have kids pictures to update and share on a regular basis; maybe it’s b/c I keep getting beaten at Farkle. Now if I had some stalkers… then maybe 😉

      Not sure if it’s a cool kids or mainstream thing or not. FB is simple and there are parts I like. Twitter has a different kind of simplicity I like, but for me it’s about interest.. I cultivate my list per accounts based upon the conversations I’d want to join, news I’d want to learn and share. It’s more customizable to me, my goals, my personality, my business, etc.

      I think there are those who’ll give it another chance, given changes and improvements. Some won’t get it and that’s fine too. Ok with it being a smaller niche, but do have concerns about the money and its possible premature demise. FWIW.

  9. First of all, thanks for the linkback Davina! Secondly, while Twitter itself may not survive, something like it will come to the forefront. Twitter does have a much smaller network than Facebook, but think about just how influential those people using Twitter are! Top communications people, be they corporations, PR/Marketing people, journalists or whomever, are the ones driving the growth of Twitter. If the people who TALK for a living are using it, I think that’s a big reason it’s not going away any time soon.

    That said, you’re absolutely right that Twitter has to start making money soon, and I think that’s where the acquisition of TweetDeck comes into play. You’ll see Twitter begin to monetize the influential user base that comes along with TweetDeck because those ads will be infinitely more valuable than ads going out to Twitter users who don’t carry as much weight (generally speaking, all other 3rd party apps).

    Calling time of death on Twitter is a hugely popular pastime, but I just don’t see it happening. It is too ingrained in our communication culture at this point to go away any time soon. Watch The Voice tonight on NBC. You’ll see them promoting the hashtag #TheVoice. They aren’t doing that to seem cool. It’s driving people to a place to converse about the show online and then to purchase the music they’re hearing online as well. Instant gratification and all that.
    Matt LaCasse recently posted..MattLaCasse- You know that MLK quote that was floating around Sunday night and yesterday Probably a fake- http-isgd-7desU6 OBL

    1. Exactly Matt. It IS too soon too call, but in its current incarnation, Twitter still has a ways to go. My thing – like you – is the power users, those who really like and get it.. we’re not going anywhere. So I am fine with Twitter not being for everyone, just a matter of marketing it for the right audiences.

      On the acquisition of TweetDeck or dinging of other apps… that cat’s already out of the bag, crossed the room and drank the last saucer of milk. Twitter has to do something MORE to offer value to us diehards, something more than what these apps provide. Your very welcome for the link, I’m just kicking around ideas here .. seeing what happens. 😉

Comments are closed.