What Twitter has that Jaiku and Pownce don’t

July 6, 2007

Simplicity, purpose, people.

image Yes, Twitter was there first and had all the technorati raving about it earlier this year at SXSW, but it also had something else.  A singular purpose that imagedidn’t pretend to be anything else.  Soimage  while Jaiku is interesting, and Pownce is feature-rich, Twitter continues to do what it was designed to do.  Answer the one question: “What are you doing?”


Of course the original purpose was to let friends know what your up to, and be able to do that from the web, IM, or text message.  While Twitter still asks the same question, it’s users have continued to push the boundaries of what the service can be used for.  Because of that user innovation, Twitter unknowingly launched the concept of micro-blogging.

One recent user-created innovation that brings value to the service is Dave Winer’s TwitterGram.  Bringing the ability to leave ~30 second voice messages via the service, including by phone.

Another user-innovation is using a URL shorting service like TinyURL or urlTea to keep URLs to a short 25 characters.  This of course allows the inclusion of links in Twitter posts.

Since the heavy influx of users back in February and March, the idea of micro-blogging has taken root.  While Twitter still asks the same question, it’s users continue to expand it’s usefulness.  In addition to telling everyone what you are currently doing, it also allows one to ask questions and get answers.


Twitter is also simple to use.  There are no other controls or buttons on the site to take away from the user experience.  You come, you post, you read.  It’s a super fast way to post your thoughts.  Also, keeping the text limit to 140 characters or less has done several things.  It fits with nearly all SMS text messaging services field limits, it makes it fast to post, and it makes people think of how best to say something.


Of course the biggest reason that Twitter is better is the people that are already there.  Yes, they are there because it was up and running first, but its the actual core group that uses Twitter every day, all day.  The simplicity and single-focus on micro-blogging that keeps them using the service.

Most bloggers already have their day full, and adding new social networks that do the same thing are a poor use of time.  We’ve got too many places to update our status, and trade notes with friends to add another service that really doesn’t enhance to core product in a efficient way.

Also, with a number of “A List” and/or prominent and well-known bloggers on Twitter, it is a wonder resource for news in your genre and getting to know each Twitter Friend better.


It’s my opinion that Twitter simply rocks for these reasons.  While it’s well documented to have problems from time to time, and there are a number of features that many Twitters request, it’s just too valuable to me in it’s current form to look elsewhere for the same functionality.  I’ll be staying with Twitter.

More Bloggers on the Twitter vs. Pownce debate:

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  1. Rich, I would appreciate your comments on Hictu! too. I see you Twitter messages and RSS posts on Hictu everyday, and wonder why you don’t post directly (even if I can imagine..). On Hictu! people are starting new ways to communicate and others are creating a daily videoblog, something that on Twitter you can’t do.
    But, you are right, Twitter have people. If someone would start moving from Twitter to Hictu or other services like that, people can be lost really quickly… Let’s see when this “tipping point” will occurr.


    July 10, 2007

  2. Luca,
    That I will do, I’ll need to use Hictu a bit to understand more about it. So far, I had only posted once or twice. The biggest thing I notice is that I have to keep a Twitter window open because that is where my network is. I could start posting only on one of the other services, but few of the people I network with would see them.
    I’ll update this post, or write a new one that includes Hictu.
    Thanks Luca!

    Rick Mahn

    July 10, 2007

  3. Twitter is a huge time sink, so I try to avoid it, but I’ll admit that its great for its purpose. Other than the performance problems it has been having recently, its been great.

    Scott Gostyla

    July 3, 2008

  4. Scott,
    It sure can be a time sink. I think I’ve successfully sidestepped that issue though. The past month, I’ve spent more time working and doing the things that I’m good at and have spent much less time wasting my time on Twitter.

    That said, I still get tremendos value from Twitter. I agree that performance and stability are improving on Twitter too.

    Rick Mahn

    July 3, 2008


  1. Jeff McNeill » Blog Archive » links for 2007-07-08 - [...] RickMahn.com » Blog Archive » What Twitter has that Jaiku and Pownce don’t Jul 2007 (tags: twitter jaiku pownce) …

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