A personal pet peeve that I've developed over the last few months is to be dismissive of Twitter. I have to be careful in that I think I've gotten to the point where I automatically disagree with all Twitter hype at this point and automatically disagreeing with anything is not a good sign (at least it isn't if you are trying to be open minded)
The problem I have is that the hype so rarely reflects the reality at this point and that makes it difficult for me to take Twitter proponents seriously.
So when I saw David Armano's post entitled "Why is Twitter Exploding? ..." I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Before I get into his article I'd like to present a little graph...
(and yes, I know Alexa isn't the most accurate but on big sites its a decent indicator)
Now, the first thing to notice is that Twitter is still relatively low in the grand scheme of things. Wordpress is probably the most viewed Blog network in the world but it still doesn't get anywhere close to your mainstream social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook in traffic. So the fact that twitter pales in comparison to Wordpress should tell you that it isn't exactly exploding.
Second thing to notice is that their traffic hasn't really moved in the last 3 months. That twitter line is about as straight as a real life graph line is going to get.
Back to Mr Amano's post he points to Jeremiah Owyang, a Sr. Analyst at Forrester, for validation of his "Exploding" claim. Mr Owyang says...
Web Strategy Theory to know before you go forward
If you’ve not already figured it out, the corporate website is becoming less relevant, and web marketing (and support) has spread off your domain and google results. You also know that prospects trust the opinions of existing customers (who are ‘like them’) far more than marketers, and Facebook let’s these communities of practice assemble, your brand is decentralized –embrace! If you don’t understand these concepts, it’s hard to move forward, please re-read those posts above.
Given that quote I have a challenge to anyone who might run across this.
Explain to me how Twitter provides an advantage over a Blog (with comments and RSS/Atom feed) when communicating to customers.
I don't think you're going to come up with a compelling answer.
Let me be clear, I'm not against Twitter nor am I saying that people shouldn't keep an eye on it but the reality is that the Blogosphere tends to distort the things it likes into looking bigger than they are. That's why you get talk of Facebook all the time when Myspace still dwarfs it in size.
I do think Twitter has its place I just don't think its where some people think it is and I don't think the service is big enough to have that place be set in stone. Early adopters don't always determine how a service will turn out especially when they are using something for a purpose that it wasn't originally designed for.
I have a lot more to say here but it will have to wait for another time. For now I'll just say that I think Twitter was far better off and far more useful in its original goal which was to help friends keep track of each other. I think there's a lot more to that than there is to turning it into a cut rate blogging platform.