After my little break I have just started catching up on things. One thing that seems to happened in my absence is that Twitter seems to have taken over the social media landscape. Everyday there is a new update on twitter – a new feature, a new stat about the number of users or a new celebrity story.
I do think that Twitter is a great app (I have been using it for over a year now) – beautifully designed and thought out – but things are getting a wee bit hysterical with all the hype. The reason for all this hype seems to be that twitter is really targeted to media personalities – to people who make money from influencing other people and are comfortable in the spotlight – and these people are the ones doing all the hyping. Imagine news written by students…It will be all facebook all the time.
Now is twitter really useful or popular with non-media types? If you are not looking to influence other people, does it makes sense to tweet? Can twitter provide value to students or plumbers or nurses? If you just want to talk with your friends or connect with a group, I just don’t see the value proposition being very strong. There are better tools like facebook, myspace etc. that provide much better tools and access control for your conversation.
Another angle that is getting hyped up is the real-time search. A number of people seem to be suggesting that Twitter = Real-time Search. To me twitter is an important source of information for real-time search but its not real-time search. For my real-time search I would like to get a larger data set that includes information from facebook feed, LinkedIn, myspace, blogs, bulletin boards recently updated sites etc. Now given the current stage of search (Google) this kind of near real-time access to latest information is not available. Perhaps that is why Twitter with its real-time database that does not require any extensive crawling and indexing works as a proxy real-time search. Longer term, though, saying twitter is real-time search seems similar to saying yahoo directory (from 10-12 years back) was the internet. Remember how that worked out for Yahoo!.
Update: Check out this interesting post from MediaPost that echos some of the same sentiments.
Update: Check out this interesting post from Brian Solis’s blog (Brian has been an early adopter of twitter and is a passionate user)