What next for Twitter?
Twitter is doing well for itself with burgeoning user numbers, ever more tweets, increasing revenue from advertising and the introduction of new functionality such as the #discover tab and Twitter Cards.
I have long been asking, however, if things needed to change.
I suggested a form of channels to sanitise the stream and keep topics contained which "Event Pages" seemed to agree with but then disappeared as quick as they appeared.
I also recently proposed the idea of buying and integrating Branch to add an additional level of conversation to the mix.
Twitter is a media darling, unbeatable for real-time discovery and breaking news, but I have personally felt that there needs to be something extra to back this up; something to let users take it to the next level and translate discovery into discussion - a way to get more in-depth.
Prior to the launch of Google+ I was of the opinion that Google suffered from having no "destination" as its primary business was all about getting you to go elsewhere and leave the Google ecosystem behind.
I wonder if Twitter is looking at a similar situation now that the stream is full of links.
I keep asking the same questions:
- is the stream enough?
- will it continue to hold the attention?
- will it be engaging enough for users?
- does the network need more?
Many wondered about the possibilities once Twitter acquired Posterous and I am still of the opinion that there is an opportunity to extend Twitter's functionality and remit in a way that goes beyond 140 characters, away from the main stream.
But yesterday I had a realisation, a moment of clarity.
Twitter, it's not you, it's me.
My mindset has changed and I can no longer think in 140 characters but am I just an edge case?
When I first heard about, and then joined, Twitter back in 2006 I knew we were on the cusp of a new era of social. The service excited me in a way that MySpace and others had never been able.
For the past couple of years, however, I have been in two minds about the social/information network with my desire to see something else on the one hand whilst declaring its simplicity as its key for success.
Having existed for over seven years with a largely unaltered recipe, history would appear to suggest that Twitter has a winning formula so why should it need to shake things up to cater to the likes of me?
Previous changes to the service have been absorbed and embraced by users as they have left core functionality largely unaffected but I keep wondering if living the simple life is enough to sustain the network in the long-term.
While I will still use Twitter it will no longer be a social priority but my concern for the network is that I can't be the only one thinking this way.