Twitter will flame-out before the end of 2007, in one of the most awe-inspiring lessons in irrational exuberance weâ€™ve seen since the turn of the millennium.
However, I do take issue with one or two points in this posting. Below are the points Mat Balez of web1979 posits, and my rebuttal to them.
1. Whereâ€™s the Value? There is no substance to the house of cards that is Twitter. No deep content, nothing to learn, no reason to keep coming back to the trough, other than the thrill/obsession of pre-adolescent voyeurism – which is simply not reason enough for busy professionals. Iâ€™ve not seen a single legitimate, value-generating use of Twitter explained or demonstrated.
Where’s the value – No deep content? The going’s on of many interesting and influential people, committed to transparency in the conversation talk about everything and nothing. The number of links to great content on blogs and other sites is huge if you pay attention. I’ve found more interesting blogs in just one week of Twittering than several months of reading blogs and feeds – that is value.
2. Too Much Effort People are lazy. Anything that requires too much time, effort and attention simply wonâ€™t succeed in a sustainable way unless itâ€™s tremendously valuable (which Twitter is not, see #1).
What? What could be simpler than a one-sentence blog post? How is this too much effort? You can put as much time into it as you want to get the value you need. For instance, in just a few minutes this morning, I found this article that inspired my blog posting today. In another minute or two I found this, this, and this. How is it too much effort for the value it returned to me in just under 10 minutes?
3. Key Users Will Bail Ah, the double-edged sword of network effects. I suspect that once the community anchors in Twitterati start to give up on it (and they will; wait for the SXSW hangover to take effect) it wonâ€™t take long for the entire house to crumble.
This is possible. If a person does not see the value, or get any return on their time investment, they will stop using the service. If they get overwhelmed by the chatter that may not be relevant to them, they will stop using the service. Or if one of their favorite A-Listers chooses to stop using the service, do people follow their lead? That could be the one area that could trip up Twitter.
In the end, we’ll find out if Twitter has staying power over the long term. There are definitely things that could be improved upon, features that could add more value, or too many things could be tried on the Twitter user base that hinders the simple usability that everyone I’ve interacted with loves about the service. Time will tell, but to suggest that there is no value or its too much work makes me think that someone didn’t try to look very hard.