Time for Twitter to Go Gentle Into That Good Night?

Twitter is dying.

Here are the symptoms:

  • Microblogging peaked and began the descent into the trough of disillusionment in Gartner’s 2009 Hype Cycle for emerging technologies
  • Twitter has long suffered unscheduled outages due to architecture, scalability, and now Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.  And they lose users each time they are down.
  • Facebook acquired FriendFeed (long considered the Twitter heir) AND released Facebook Lite.
  • The main problems Twitter has (lack of context, no threading, weak search tools) still remain deep within it

Is Twitter gently going into that long night?

Well, no so fast.

Although Gartner indeed positioned microblogging (of which Twitter is just one example) as declining, that is actually the time when technologies start to take off in adoption.  Forget Ashton and Oprah, that was no real adoption – that was hype.  This is the time when organizations will begin to realize the power of microblogging and the applications for the enterprise, understand the lessons learned, implement best practices, and make sense of the technology.

Actually, critical mass (around 30% of adoption in enterprise) is not reached until a technology begins to climb out of the trough.  In that aspect, Twitter has not even reached its potential market.

There is a lot of market to conquer.

Is Twitter the right application to do it?  Unfortunately, no.  The weaknesses are too deep into the infrastructure to allow it time to fix them.

Is Facebook + FriendFeed + Facebook Lite the Twitter-killer? No, that is not going to be the case either.  They also lack context (it is a little bit better, using groups and networks), and their search is not better than Twitter’s.

Is there another application out there? Maybe, but the interface and the way it works is going to be different.  Twitter won’t disappear (although it will be acquired into a larger platform), nor microblogging will go away.  The customers like the ability to receive instant gratification for complaints, even if it is not completely solved, and there is value in the platform.

There will be other, better tools.

The idea of short messages in real-time has lots of value for both customers and enteprises.  However, for the new tools to emerge it may be time for Twitter to gently ease into the long night…

In case you are interested in the poem, you can find it here

8 Replies to “Time for Twitter to Go Gentle Into That Good Night?”

  1. Esteban,

    Interesting thoughts as usual. One alternative to Twitter for the Enterprise is Yammer.

    Visit http://www.yammer.com – I have no affiliation with the company (though I know an internal exec personally). I have used the platform and there is a growing list of businesses who have had success in deploying it.

    Best regards,


  2. Very interesting thought Esteban, another reason could possibly be as Brian has pointed. Companies are starting to adopt internal micro-blogging tools (including mine) – and to promote internal tool’s usage – companies might block ‘Twitter’ access – or employees might not find time to be available on both channels – which again might contribute to Twitter’s decline.

    But for that there should be a better tool available, as you’ve pointed. I do wish that Twitter keeps on enhancing its capabilities! … so that it keeps its microblogging leadership (and we are spared from creating another login and re-finding ppl whose posts we love!)

    Thanks for the interesting post.




  3. I’m glad to see you make the point tht the position on the hype cycle is not a bad thing. I expect to see microblogging moving nicely along the path to maturity fairly quickly, whether or not that is based on Twitter.
    A point I’ve made on my blog earlier ( http://bit.ly/18MoTw) is that I don’t think that Twitter is in this game to provide bells and whistles. They want to build a honking great mass of content, which grows all the time. They will depend on others to add the functionality. If they can own the tweets, they don’t need to control the tools that contribute them. So far, no one seems to be challenging them there, although Facebook has the best chance.


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