Posted August 11, 2009 12:26 pm by with 18 comments

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If you’re a visual learner, I have great news: the technology equivalent of Hot or Not is available in graph form. Research firm Gartner Inc has published the 2009 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, with a handy graphic detailing the hype cycle and 79 technology trends and topics on the curve.


The “Hype Cycle” illustrates the growth, maturity and adoption of technologies—but most of all, it looks at how much hype and media coverage these topics get. It can also be used to determine whether to invest in types of tech, according to Gartner—technologies with high user benefit and low time to mainstream acceptance are ripe for investment and implementation, while technologies with minimal user benefit and a long time until mainstream acceptance should be approached with “extreme caution.”

Both AllThingsD and Reuters focused on the position of microblogging on the chart (in the form of everyone’s favorite microblogging service, Twitter).

Microblogging is nearing the end of the peak of inflated expectations. (I trust I don’t need to show you proof that they’ve definitely entered that peak—where media frenzy leads to artificially high expectations.) They’re nearing the trough of disillusionment—where the inflated expectations create a backlash, the technologies fall out of media favor, and hype diminishes.

What do you think? Is Twitter already past the peak of inflated expectations, or to we have a lot more glowing stories to hear from the most popular microblogging service? What technology do you see as most interesting in its position on this chart?

  • What I find interesting here is that e-book readers and cloud computing have both reached their peak. I’m not so sure about that actually. I think they both have a ways to go before they’ve reach the zenith of their hype.
    .-= Allen Taylor´s last blog ..Why You Could Be The Next Target Of A Malicious Malware Attack =-.

  • Wow – that’s quite the chart! I need to spend more time digesting what it means, but that is interesting to note that Twitter is downtrending (even though it’s so hyped). I like it as a means of tying together social media strategies – an easy place to collate everything – but as our new media evangelist Ron Ploof always says, build on your own turf first! It’s vital to get a blog going and to beef up your Web site instead of relying on Facebook and Twitter and the like. You don’t know what kind of lasting power they’ll have (MySpace, anyone?). It’s foolish to invest too heavily in external platforms while ignoring your own (which doesn’t run the risk of being a passing fad).

  • Allen—agreed. I feel like they get a lot of hype in tech circles, but less so in mainstream, esp. cloud computing. (Esp. with Oprah hawking the Kindle.)

    Christa—Absolutely. However, it’s important to note that losing hype doesn’t always mean losing ground. MySpace fell out of media favor a long time ago (for the tech world, you know), but it wasn’t until a few months ago that Facebook finally caught up with them in terms of traffic.

  • Mark

    You see, this is so true. I think that the ‘hype’ of Twitter has ended. People have started realising how useless Twitter actually is:

    Tbh, I’ve never seen what the big deal was. Even as a marketing tool, I think there are better alternatives that will drive more quality users to your site – and I think that this graph is just proof that other people will think the same.

  • I love this visual! It’s probably true that Twitter and other microblogging services are headed for the trough. What does that say about Facefeed? Bad timing?

    On the other hand, everyone at MarketingPilgrim most be jazzed that social network analysis is now on its way to enlightenment and productivity. Yay, Trackur!
    .-= jlbraaten´s last blog ..The Top 8 Best Free Audio Podcast Downloads on the Web =-.

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  • I disagree with the positioning of Twitter on the graph.

    Right now, some 11% of the American people is on Twitter, in my view in a few months this will be 15%, and then Twitter will generalize easily to cover 90 % of this market.

    The last 10 % of any market is always the hardest to harvest, like it includes non-tech and very high-tech but non-company lovers…

    After America, the world is the next scene for Twitter hegemony, it will probably be the last of the American inventions to gain such a role, like the American economic and military power is fading away and Asia is gaining dominance in these fields.

    But like Twitter is an information medium and the American Universities are still of the highest quality ratings agreed on worldwide, information disclosure by using microblogging will be one of the last contributions America will be able to make to the world heritage.
    .-= jansegers´s last blog – just fill in the blanks =-.

  • jansegers, are you joking? Google doesn’t even have 90% of the U.S. market and it’s still far more relevant and useful to most Americans than Twitter is.

    As far as Twitter hype goes, I think it’s now time to get a more sobering view of it as a business tool. The hype has been largely, “Hey, this is neat! Check it out!” But not many people really knew what they were checking out, or why. Once people understand what can be done with it you’ll find business people and members of the general public consciously deciding not to use it because they realize it doesn’t fit comfortably into their marketing (job hunting, shopping, etc.) plans. That’s when Twitter will have arrived as a useful and marketable tool. They’ll be able to more clearly define it’s practical uses so that people can make an honest and informed decision as to whether it will benefit them or not.
    .-= Allen Taylor´s last blog ..Why You Could Be The Next Target Of A Malicious Malware Attack =-.

  • I’m not joking: Twitter isn’t a search engine, is it ? It’s a new kind of postal service, just like e-mail and that’s why it will end up with such a huge market share… IMHO (ofcourse)

    Pieter Jansegers
    .-= jansegers´s last blog – just fill in the blanks =-.

  • Right now, Twitter is whatever its users say it is because its developers failed to define it. I’ve never thought of it as a postal service, but I guess you could see it that way. Even still, as a postal service, it’s limited. Most people won’t see the value in sending a 140-character “letter” to their friends. They’ll find it inconvenient to have to rely on Twittwall, Twitlonger, Twitpic, and umpteen other third-party applications to communicate with their friends when they can just send an e-mail and have their “letter” with all of its features attached arrive within seconds.

    The problem Twitter has is it has no business or marketing plan. In order to gain 90% market share, it will have to aggressively pursue the business and define its practical uses for various segments of their market. Without a budget and a revenue model, that will be difficult. They can’t rely on people saying, “This is cool, check it out.” That’s why there is such a high attrition rate.
    .-= Allen Taylor´s last blog ..Why You Could Be The Next Target Of A Malicious Malware Attack =-.

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  • “If the spead of information travelling defines a society, a global revolution is taking place: global immediate mass communication is now a fact due to the microblogs.”

    140 characters are all is needed to alert people for any danger or any social upheaval that is taking place… in our day and age, all you have is a few seconds to react before anyone else is doing it on the stockexchanges all over the world

    knowledge is power

    140 characters is also a very handy format for any automated system to pass on information to other systems

    in fact it could easily become the basis of any semantic web information encoding

    and finally

    140 characters is all it takes to rapport a task that has been done, I believe this to be the main human centered future application of Twitter: rapporting back to the community what I’ve done, found, read or written

    Twitter is a microblog, a micro-weblog, a web-log, a logbook on the web of what humanity is doing, all of us separately, and all of us as an all.

    Twitter is about recording history and shaping history, 140 characters at a time

    Pieter Jansegers
    .-= jansegers´s last blog – just fill in the blanks =-.

  • Pieter—this is a hype chart, not a chart gauging marketshare or adoption rates. It shows how much media coverage a technology is getting.

  • @Jordan McCollum thx for the clarification, I’ve indeed got it wrong on while reading the article

    I’m not sure, the article is right dough, even reading it in the right way this time along…

    Twitter is becoming a source cited in Newspapers and Magazines all the time, and like it’s already a verb, though some prefer to say ‘to tweet’ rather than ‘to twitter’, it’s clear it’s here to stay

    Netscape, Napster nor Windows were turned into verbs, Twitter is, just like Google; ok, they’ve choosen an already existing word and just added an extra meaning to it, but they’ve made the dictionary and this also in about all the major languages in the world.

    I tend to believe in the power of language as a conservation tool in itself and the idea of twittering is here to stay.

    Nobody seems to have noticed here that Twitter was the first application the make to new internet protocol of Google Wave… the Google guys created this application themselves and promoted it in the I/O presentation of their new product.

    Twitter makes the bridge between what was, is and shall be, just like it’s a reinvention of the early IRC model, it’s already assured its potential future into the new layer of the internet…

    Even talking about what is to come, Twitter is still to be mentionned… I’m sorry for all those journalists having already enough of this service 🙂
    .-= jansegers´s last blog – just fill in the blanks =-.

  • @Pieter—I think that we’re already beginning to see the tide turn on the hype surrounding Twitter. Just because Twitter users use “tweet” as a verb doesn’t mean that the technology has widespread currency—or that it’s immune to a media backlash once they realize that doesn’t actually have the power to solve global poverty or bring world peace, like the hype in the peak of inflated expectations implied.

    Remember, too, that, like Allen said, even Google doesn’t have 90% marketshare here in the US. It’s at about 70% these days, and it’s taken eleven years to get there. So we all “Google,” but a quarter of Internet users can’t even find And some studies show that 60% of Twitter users abandon their accounts.

  • Pieter, you’ve made one important point, but I think even you missed it.

    The technology that Twitter brought to us is indeed important. And I think it has staying power. It will likely evolve into an everyday necessity for much of the world, like telephones and television. But Twitter will likely fade as competition develops to outmaneuver against its weaknesses. Google Wave, once it hits the open market, has the potential to do that. But I’m excited about the possibilities in real-time mass communication.

    There is huge potential there to transform all of our lives. Still, most people today don’t even know it’s possible. They’re still stuck on passing urban legends through e-mail. I think it will be at least one generation, perhaps two, before Twitter-like real-time mass communications become a part of the average person’s life. Heck, even the Internet itself hasn’t arrived at that place yet.
    .-= Allen Taylor´s last blog ..Why You Could Be The Next Target Of A Malicious Malware Attack =-.

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  • In tempore non suspecto, way before the twitter hype we are now living through, I wrote a posting on tumblr about

    Why twitter is such a great success…

    Back then there were very few competitors and Twitter wasn’t “corporized” yet: the very backslash of the way people are now being treated by the Twitter guys is the most worrying aspect at this moment and it may be a sign of the down-turn…

    Monopolistic market behavior isn’t necessary intended, it’s just that Twitter has become to big to manage by the few people they already have working there.

    It might even by argued, as some bloggers did, that the creators don’t get to power of their creation…

    The 2000 following limit is a pain in the ass; ok, you can follow +200 more people than you are being followed by, but even so it’s a restriction of the possibilities of the network that isn’t wishfull for using the platform for instant knowledge gathering.

    I would have wished to be able to follow 2 persons for every city in the world…
    .-= Pieter Jansegers´s last blog – just fill in the blanks =-.