Today Mark Evans wrote a great post entitled “Taking Twitter Seriously”. In his post, he ponders whether Twitter can break through to the mainstream. Such a feat has proven very hard for most web 2.0 companies, and technologies for that matter. Even now, blogs and RSS are still just starting break the surface. Having said that, I think that Twitter has a
better chance really good chance at achieving mainstream status.
As we all know, Twitter is a micro-blogging platform. Therefore, the technology is a subset of blogging - the main difference being the length of posts. These short messages take very little time and effort to produce. Sound familiar? Text messaging may ring a bell. The explosion of mobile may be a huge catalyst for Twitter. Other forms of posting do not bode well for mobile due to their length. Nevertheless, short status updates seem to fit very well into the grand scheme of things. It doesn’t seem like a huge leap of faith to conceive people transitioning from text messaging to micro-blogging.
Add to that the fact that social networks (most notably Facebook) have facilitated the evolution. How? Well, SN status updates are akin to Twitter. In other words, trying to explain Twitter to a newbie may prove to be difficult, but referencing the SN status update tool may help bring clarity to the process. After all, if people can relate to something they already know, it makes the education process much simpler.
The two aforementioned points around text messaging and social networks bring about a nice conclusion. The learning curve will likely be much lower than most web 2.0 technologies/servics. Adoption is much more likely.
Finally, the main reason Twitter may hit the mainstream is this: it relates to real people. This isn’t “pie-in-the-sky” technology. It’s actually useful and provides real value. The closer the connection with a given Twitter contact, the more important and pertinent their updates will be to you. Obviously, family members and close friends come to mind. The passive ability to check up on your close connections is extremely valuable. Establishing itself as the leader in the space will allow Twitter the opportunity to bring people closer together - a powerful concept.
What do you think about the future of Twitter? Do you think it has what it takes to break through to the mainstream? Or will the trend fall off and the service flounder?