Twitter has come a long way in the last three years it has been in existence which is a relatively short span of time. The leading internet traffic analysis site compete has estimated that twitter’s popularity has grown by 964% compared to the same month last year (Myspace is going down). The number of unique visitors are close to 8 million. This is huge given the basic functionality twitter offers (140 characters on ‘what are you doing now?’). What is very interesting is the fact how it is going to survive further as the VC’s would be mounting pressure on twitter team before web obsessed crowd turns their attention to something else..
Web is full of social networking sites that serve as an alternate to the decreasing interpersonal relations in a fast paced world. For millions of years ,if you are looking at a coverage for billions of years, read ‘Ancestors Tale’ by Richard Dawkins, we have been operating as groups and this desire to operate as a group has taken the shape of social networking in the web world. If we were to consider orkut,myspace, facebook etc as 3 course meals, twitter is ‘the’ fast food. Grab something real quick , have it and move on. But mind the fact that like triple whopper with loads of cheese, it is really addictive as well ( i have an urge to sign on to twitter early morning after checking mails in my blackberry, as soon as i wake up)
The factors that make twitter click are
> It is quick and easy, the 140 character limit makes is mass SMS media of the web
> It interests high profile techies and celebrities, so high chance of developing valuable networks
> Great platform to market your product and yourself (sparing those I-AM-IN-BATHTUB-NOW type updates)
> The facts are more authentic as the false information gets corrected by the ungoverned watchful eyes (same phenomenon like Wikipedia)
But How will twitter make money?
Twitter as a concept has web, mobile and 3rd party apps as its channels and hence any monetization strategy has to be different according to the nature of the channel. While web is a great medium to put adverts, mobile is not. And since twitter allows api level access, governing 3rd party apps would be too difficult. So it is going to be interesting to see how twitter folks monetize their fame , real quick.
Following are my predictions about the ‘cashing in’ of twitter
> Online contests/prizes that could earn you twitter points (nice business opportunity those chinese entrepreneurs who could employs 1000+ chinese youths to earn and sell these points)
> Opinion polls by product vendors with guaranteed freebies
> A small fee for premium twitters with more options which are not normally available to the common folks ( Linkedin irritates you with this strategy already)
> Sponsored Ads in between the twitter streams (this would annoy really)
My thoughts are based on the fact that twitter would remain textual and wouldn’t want to become another jazzy confused social networking site. In this web 2.0 era where people have multiple options to voice their opinions , companies are getting increasingly conscious of guarding their brand (bad mouthing by a lead twitter could do a considerable damage) and market their brands to the masses who crowd these sites. Anyways as long as i am not restricted in what i could do now and if i had to do a courtesy-click of some weird ads to support twitter engine going, I am perfectly fine. Go Twitter Go……
You can follow me in twitter at http://twitter.com/rsenthilk