The buzz since SxSW (I didn’t go, but the blogosphere wraps it up nicely) is that Twitter is the next “big thing” to hit the Web since MySpace. I beg to differ. Anytime someone says this is gonna be the next big thing, it never is. I created my Twitter account a few days ago and used it as much as I feasibly could and here’s why I already lost interest.
Twitter fails to engage users to connecting by not making it clear how to interact with each other. Even as I joined, I got the feeling I was talking to myself. I even added it on my AIM Page with their widget, but still I couldn’t find an easy way to connect with others. Why not have forums or a spot to find other users?
On the good side, I will say their interface is simple. There is nothing I dislike more in a social network, is a complex Web site. However, I believe the sidebar can be a little more robust. Having the ability to customize the page with simple CSS (it guides you though it) makes it perfect for people who are picky with their digital color palette.
Online versus Real-Life? I’ve yet to convince my girlfriend to create an account because of the “why?” factor. We can classify my girlfriend as the above average Web surfer – she will join a site if her friends are, she downloads music, watches online videos, and occasionally blogs. Not a total geek like me — far from it. So I’ll make a brief case study based on her expectations. Aside from the busy person who does a lot of daily (or hourly) accomplishments, Twitter lacks the “reward” for noting their status. What’s the reward for most social networking users? Popularity. Twitter doesn’t really focus on that probably due to privacy or other reasons.
Judging from O’Reilly’s definition of Web 2.0 online services, Twitter doesn’t build strength based on their user’s contributions or network size. In fact, this evening (Internet-Prime-Time), it appears users killed it. They were pulled down for maintenance — another phrase for “Oh Ish! The Webservers are melting!!1” Twitter isn’t as scalable as once previously thought. Twitter doesn’t build strength from their user-generated content, except for the homepage.
I’m not alone. Many other Web 2.0-aware folks are interested in Twitter and have debated whether or not Twitter will die or have proclaimed this the Web’s diamond in the rough, or are countering both sides and sharing their opinions on Twitter. I concur with the praise of Twitter’s interface. They nailed that one all the way, it’s rather innovative that users can read and post their events on the same page.
Anyhow, I’ll still try to stick with Twitter as long as I can, but frankly, they need to add more features. I’d love to see it track your Instant Messaging status, so I go away on AIM and it posts my away message to my Twitter page. Their verification for my AIM screen name didn’t work either, so they need to work on connecting to open IM services such as AIM more effectively ::cough:: Open AIM ::cough:: Open ID ::cough::
What do you think of Twitter? Share your thoughts in the comments.[tags]Twitter, Internet, Social Networking, Web 2.0[/tags]