The Death of Twitter

Twitter revealed a social construct within us that we never knew existed: the capacity to communicate in tiny pulses. That’s what technology does: it reveals, and then changes irrevocably our way of seeing the world.

Indeed – the tweet (in its generic conception) is now metaphor for 21st Century communications: from the ping to the mention to the call to action.

The tweet, however, is simply a feature which soon will be subsumed into other technologies.

That Twitter has enjoyed a 5 year monopoly on 140 characters says something about the nature of its breakthrough.

Twitter Inc., however, has blundered horribly by not delivering any significant innovation. Twitter by itself is…well, Twitter. Nothing to innovate there per se. But Twitter could have built out a more robust and integrating set of features and platforms and tools which could have propelled it far ahead in the social media market.

Team Twitter didn’t. It catered to celebrities, tolerated the Fail Whale and didn’t even understand its own service very well.

What’s more, Twitter plans to use half of $800 Million of funding to buy back shares. That is not a good sign of financial management. Ponzi scheme come to mind?

Google – long thought a loser in social media given its blunders and its heavy focus on algorithms – has now unsheathed a most powerful arsenal of social technologies that could well induce the death of Twitter, Inc.

Google Plus doesn’t have to kill Twitter or Facebook – it just has to accrue the adoption of everyday people and business enterprises to propel Google into the next phase of its empiric dominance in the Web.

I’ve already figured out how Google Plus – at least the premises of its features – will configure into Healthcare. It’s huge. (Now, I can appreciate why Google gave up Google Health – Google Health was bulky and the wrong path: the future of health is Social.)

It’s too late for Twitter to sell to Google – Google’s put Twitter into Check. Zuckerberg over at Facebook isn’t thinking a whole lot about Twitter I’m sure.

Apple’s going to integrate Twitter into iOS 5 – which may add some zing…but in light of Google Plus, I’m sure Steve Jobs may be tempted to put a sparrow in his hand an crush it to death.

Microsoft? Well, they spent a ton of money on Skype – which is now integrated into Facebook’s Chat feature…which now Google Plus’ Hangouts makes look like a bad joke. So Microsoft is probably a bit wary of investing in something that everyday looks more and more like a Ponzi scheme.

With no other platform but streams of teeny tweets, where will the revenues stream? Ads? Not enough money there. Subscriptions? Not enough users to lock-in. Service offerings to businesses? Better alternatives exists and will evolve – Twitter’s woefully behind, and any efforts for innovation not only must be swift: they must also be dead-on.

The death of Twitter may be a rumor, and greatly exaggerated.

But it’s awfully hard to have realistic hope when you know the patient hasn’t been given the care she deserves.

Don’t invest too much in Twitter. The opportunity cost is getting greater every day.

Phil Baumann