Twitter is not Jesus and will not save humanity.
As much as writing this makes I feel like a ‘hater’, I think this post is necessary. I am really getting tired of seeing posts about how Twitter is going to save Iraq, Africa, and the world. I wonder why this start up is being shoved down our throats. I think it is hi time we looked through all the hype.
How does Oprah joining twitter become news? Did Oprah getting a Facebook page become news? Why is it that every movie or music star joining or not joining Twitter makes the news?
Twitter does not count as a revolutionary tech/web product. To be, it has to drastically change our lives and create real industries. I will mention a few.
1. The iPod/iTunes: This revolutionized the music business, we now have companies like BOSE creating new lines of speakers just for the iPod
2. iPhone: it is unbelievable that this product is only three years old. The iPhone has created several multi millionaires through the app store
3. Facebook: They changed the concept of social networking forever. With 200 million users, Facebook is a power house and like the iPhone churns out millionaires who have apps on their platforms.
4. YouTube: YouTube is revolutionary and has eliminated the barrier to become a super star. If in doubt, ask Susan Boyle.
None of these earth breaking products of companies have received the cultic following that the proponents of Twitter want.
Few people have pointed out that there is a grand plan to hype to death so it can receive a giant valuation when it gets acquired. Such allegations are quite heavy so I will neither concur nor oppose.
Do not get me wrong, Twitter is a VERY innovative product but not as earth shattering as friends of Twitter want us to think. As Larry Page pointed out, Twitter made people start looking at search differently. It made us understand the value of real time information. As for Twitter enabling celebrities have direct access to their fans, Facebook pages offer that in a more robust manner(Notes, Videos e.t.c). As I pointed out in my FB post, Facebook has much more to offer if they get their act together. The main barrier to their opening up the status messaging (and killing Twitter) is the privacy clause which I believe is no real hindrance and can be work upon easily.
What I have learnt from this Twitter debacle is that 30% of your funds and effort should go to product development, while 70% should be for PR. If TechCrunch posts about you 50% of the time you are bound to have the momentum to reach great heights as long as you are not as incompetent as Cuil. 81 of MG’s posts on TechCrunch in one month have been about Twitter (make that 82. While I was writing this, he added another), While Mike has made 31 posts since March (funny, but make that 32), let alone other writers on TechCrunch. This is what makes young founders seek attention rather than developing an innovative product.
Interestingly twitter has decided it can conquer TV too. Consequently, the King of Twitter has threatened to pull the plug if it happens. Communicating with your fans does not mean you should be stalked…
I would conclude by making this Wager. If Twitter is not acquired in the next 9 months, I will donate 10 mosquito nets or $100 dollars to any charity of your choice to save the poverty stricken Africans (hm.. Twitter seems to be saving the world in arguments too). If interested, drop me a message.