As Twitter Slips, Potential Competitors Close In

It’s no secret that Twitter has more registered users than actual users. There are stats that say that almost half of the accounts are no longer active. Stats that show how 90% of the Tweets come from 25% of the people and that Twitter’s growth has begun to level off. Add to that, all the internal squabbling and a recent move to block third-party developers and Twitter’s star isn’t shining quite as bright as it used to.

Why? And what now? Fortune has the “why” covered. They’ve just published an extensive article that looks at the history of the company and the roadblocks they’ve faced. If you want all the gory details, it’s a good read.

Here’s what caught my eye;

To be fair, Twitter’s founders didn’t set out to build the next Facebook: Consumers turned it into a social phenomenon and kept signing on to see what it was about. Dorsey, Stone, and Williams started the service as an experimental side project; it was never designed to accommodate the 200 million–plus registered accounts worldwide it now hosts.

Okay, but now it’s big so it’s fight or flight time. Personally, I usually choose the later, not the former, but that’s just me. Twitter, despite the correlation, isn’t in flight mode. They’ve come back with an updated dashboard. They’ve improved functionality and they’ve firmed up their advertising component. What more do people want?

What they want, is for Twitter to be something it’s not. It’s not made for conversation. It’s not made for long statements. It’s a bulletin board big enough for the whole world to see. It’s about telling the world what you’re watching right now, what you ate for breakfast and who ticked you off, big time. That’s what it is and that’s what it does.

Then we have UberMedia, makers of one of the lesser third-party Twitter interface apps. Rumor has it they’re finalizing a deal to buy TweetDeck which would put them in a very sweet place. TweetDeck and other similar apps are designed to make up for Twitter’s natural shortcomings. They let you look at multiple accounts easily (can you believe some people have more than one account!) and they allow you to post longer messages.

CNN says that UberMedia isn’t interested in being an attachment anymore, so they’re going to launch their own micro-blogging service. By the end of the article, they backpedal saying that the launch is a “backup plan” to save them if Twitter decides to cut off all third-party apps. Yeah, sure.

If anyone is going to be able to compete with Twitter it’s the people behind either TweetDeck or HootSuite. What they need to do is find a way to make a micro-blogging platform that is more about threaded conversations and less about the one-shot shout-out. That would be a viable model that could give Twitter a run for its money.

Can anyone compete with Twitter at this point? Or maybe the question is, should anyone even bother to try?

  • http://www.notjustagranny.wordpress.com cindy eve

    I love twitter & would be devestated if it stopped. I think 160 characters wld be good tho. I use T for my business @3days_in_london & my personal @notjustagranny Its fast its quik & allows quik chats. U can also use #tags effectively. Long may the blue bird continue to tweet.

  • http://twitter.com/NickStamoulis Nick Stamoulis

    I’ve read several articles that compare Twitter to mass media, on-way communication as opposed to other social networking sites. Your bulletin board analogy is a good one. But it doesn’t mean that Twitter has it’s own value.

  • http://www.orbitalalliance.com Simon Yohe

    It is always possible for another company to come in and provide a better product… Twitter did great because so many celebrities, athletes, etc… embraced it and people followed. I could see a situation where there is a twitter-like option that is geared more for business.

  • http://petsmart-coupons.net Petsmart Coupons

    Twitter is a great tool for marketing. Making Announcements/giving updates to your customers.