Twitter is the latest hot property which is making to the top of talk list for the Gold Rush of Internet. People call it the "MicroBlogging" service. Frankly, I think it's NOT blogging at all. It's just a "text" based communication channel which allows users to freely connect or disconnect (by following and unfollowing) each other. To me, it's the "SMS" of Internet. Of course thanks to the power of Internet, this new "SMS" is born with the Yellow Pages to enable networking of people and businesses. With 3G and mobile Internet access and rapidly development mobile internet device, Twitter is going to be "smater" SMS communication core that bridges all kinds of "newsfeed" across devices. It will NOT be the ultimate content hosting platform like Blogger but it will be the "Carrier" that brings people to the ultimate content page, be it text, images or video.
It has a lot of potential to be further developed despite that people are unclear how they will make money of this system. However, my guess is that they will make money by the applications that are built around Twitter as a communication platform. How Twitter will be used really depends on the future of the Client Software' business application.
How Twitter will help you really depends on what you want to tweet (broadcast) to the world and how attractive you are to grow the number of followers. The actor Ashton Kutcher, the guy married Demi Moore) has just reached 1.9 million followers as I am writing this blogpost. He has creatively used Twitter to connect to his followers. His real content are posted on Intenret Video services, NOT on twitter. He uses Twitter to broadcast the topic and link to the content. It's like he has his very own free broadcasting channels and TV studio with just Twitter and other web services.
Twitter matches my memory of "Made It Big" internet stories. If there is anything I have learned about the successful (or once successful) stories about Internet, it would be the Internet as a "Search and Communication Platform". The stories (in my rough memory order) of Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, ICQ, Google Search Engine, Gmail, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, Blogger and many others who has made it big basically falls into the category of "Applications". They are NOT content based. They are all Web Applications. And they do mostly 3 things:
- Search - Google search, Yahoo Search
- Connect - MySpace, Facebook, Match.com, LinkedIn
- Communicate - ICQ, QQ, Skype, Gmail, YahooMail, Hotmail
Twitter does all these.
- Search - Twitter let you find people (or twitter member to be precise, does not have to be a person)
- Connect - With a press of a button, you can follow just about anyone who is open to be followed by public.
- Communicate - You can easily broadcast your short message or send private direct messages to anyone.
Twitter has smartly kept itself extremely simple and avoid the potential press to have a highly complicated user interface as business grows. Unlike Facebook with it's ever growing complicated and hard to use interface, Twitter is not going to have the trouble of facebook's pressure to find ways to host all the applications on the facebook platform. Instead, the applications will simply build their own interface freely but at the back end they will tap into Twitter as the communication core service. Like Facebook, Twitter offers API for application development. And this API is the key for future success. Anyone can develop an appplication riding on Twitter as a communication channel and there is no need to comply to the Facebook like rigid interface. This will open up a whole new galaxy of applications riding on Twitter. If Twitter wishes to force any kind of community "standard" structure, it can be done on the future applications to be developed. It's like another "layer" of application wrapping around Twitter. And there can be many differnt layers limited only to applications to be developed in future. So in theory one can use Twitter API and add enough stuff to it that it will be come Facebook. In a nutshell, Twitter has a highly flexible architecture designed for all kinds of applications.
If you are a computer programmer, you can easily associate Twitter as the "kernel" of an operating system. On top of the very basic Kernel, we can create "System Services". On top of the "System Services", we can create "Applications". On top of Applicatons, we can create Associated Applications. And the list goes on!
Twitter is only at it's beginning. Many people have some doubt about Twitter's business model. I think Twitter's business model is simply NOT on the very Twitter itself. It's going to be the venture capture and angel investor of many "To Be Developed Applications" accross all kinds of businesses and industries. With the control of the "military communication channel" Twitter can promote or demote any businesses.
We are going to have fun watching how Twitter will grow.