Twitter-Bubble: will twitter survive?
There has been an increasing number of what is called to be the next generation website; allowing people to connect with each other, accessing information that was previously impossible to access, providing new ways of empowering individuals to produce and collaborate. Friedman accurately describe this type of website to be one of the world's flattener. People no longer simply download information down the wires. We contribute back, feeding a rapid feedback loop of sharing, regurgitating and building on top of each others ideas and invention. Twitter is definitely one of them.
Recently, there's been a growing speculation that Twitter could just be the next big thing. Its simplicity followed by a deep philosophy fits into the mold of Google's success. It is focused on what it does best and giving access to information that may have never been accessible before (at least easily). The website allows its users to share what they observe around the world in less than 140 characters. Twitterers are describing what they are having for breakfast to on-the-spot report of groundbreaking natural disaster.
What was known to be a popular medium for just geeks, Twitter now have gone mainstream. From companies to celebrities, from engineers to artists, from the myspace to the newsgroup generation. Twitter hits hard. Each one tries to market their product and/or themselves by getting rid of the 'friction', media and its mass. It's a new medium where vendor can give what seems to be a personalized advertising service without appearing intrusive.
Anyone would agree that to survive, a business must have a strong business model. Google have successfully convinced that it is possible to build a healthy company by simply providing quality service to its users. Doing so gives Google the position to earn revenues by simply guiding advertisers to find the right people to target their product and service to, and eventually guide these people back to them.
Now the question is; is there a large enough pie for everyone, for companies like Twitter, even Facebook? Twitter isn't alone, websites like; identi.ca, plurk, brightkite , yammer and many others are competing on the same exact space (some even try to take a safer bet of putting the eggs into alll the available baskets: hellotxt.com ). Yet there are many more indirect competitor from what's known to be web 2.0 sites (see go2web20 for an extensive list ). All these websites are competing being the next lean-do/good-profit/making-advertising-machine.
Todd Dagres, a venture capitalist as interviewed by the Wall Street Journal Online (Is 'Web 2.0' another bubble? ) stated that companies like these are bubbles waiting to burst. He argued that these companies are getting too much funding compared to what they're really worth. Secondly, they won't be able to sustain competitive edge for a long time as most of them offer little technological innovation (despite their -arguable- impact in shaping our social landscape). And last but not least the fact that these companies have very low liquidity.
I love Twitter and I hope they'll survive. It's just that companies have to stop thinking about online advertising as the only possible revenue generation.