Mark Evans starts a new Twitter discussion this morning in his post “Taking Twitter Seriously”. He notes that Twitter is gaining attraction from people communicating about serious stuff like politics. The question becomes whether or not Twitter can grow up from being used by a small tech savvy community to a mainstream tool.
I think it will become more mainstream. Not because the tech community walks away with it, but more because it is a brilliant, dead simple, easy to use and fun communication tool that allows you to share your thoughts with others instantly. Twitter only has 2 problems to solve. They need a more sustainable business model, preferably decentralised to ensure Twitter keeps working. And they need to make it the standard for any social application on the web, so that non tech people can try and experience the power of Twitter communication.
Twitter isn’t breaking out of the tech community yet as this community is overwhelmingly narcissistic. We all have overlapping tech friends, follow the same tech guru’s (so who isn’t following Robert Scoble on Twitter yet?) and have a hard time explaining our Twitter time to our (non-tech) family members. I seriously doubt that there are many Twitter users that have family members, friends, or other non-tech industry people following them on Twitter. Twitter has become the main B2B communication stream.
Sad thing about that is that the tool is much more usable in a C2C context. The Twitter messages I like best aren’t the “breaking news” tweets (yawn) or the “Steve I have another cool gadget Jobs” sessions that break down Twitter easily.
No, it is the tweets where people free-flow express their thoughts that makes Twitter such a great communications tool. I have seen Tweets that made me laugh, think, become quiet, sometimes even a bit emotional. I have had a few conversational thoughts where people get into a Tweet flow together and send each other some really funny, amazing, or serious tweets back and forth, interacting in a way they won’t do when they are in a room together. It is that what makes Twitter really worthwhile. Twitter wasn’t meant to be a B2B tool, but the tech community has been using it that way most often. Which is fine, but isn’t what makes it work for me. Only when Twitter breaks out of this tech community into the main stream it will become a great tool. The tech people complain about down times, about the lack of technical options, about the lack of a business model. I say, lets start using Twitter for what it is. A simple, easy to use, fun, and brilliant messaging system.