I was just reading this article Why there will be many Twitters (Scripting News) by Dave Winer, where the author makes his case for why he thinks there are going to be many Twitter (clones) out there, and that ultimately one of them is going to be THE Twitter – one platform to rule them all.
But isn’t Twitter already a de facto for micro-blogging? Yes, surely, clones are going to pop up left, right and center, but how can one make something better than Twitter? Twitter’s success lies in its utmost simplicity. More features is just going to make it more complex. Imagine if someone comes up with a Twitter clone, that can have text in bold, italics, or underlined. (That doesn’t sound that bad, hmm.)
How about a clone that is funded by some major media network – Time Warner, Fox, NBC – and they get celebrities to ‘tweet’ on their Twitter? That surely is going to draw away the hordes of followers who only live to idolize these celebrities and follow them on wherever they are. For example, if Ashton Kutcher – the first twillionaire – shifts to a Twitter-clone, he is surely going to walk away with his million followers on Twitter. Oprah will take her followers if she decides to build her own social platform. Yes, Twitter might lose so many followers. But that’s all a big IF!
Celebrity endorsements are definitely good for any social website out there, but a social website needs much more than celebrities. In the case of micro-blogging, it needs simplicity; it needs ease of use; it needs ubiquity; it needs active user base; it needs to evoke an industry around it. Twitter has been able to do all that without much effort, especially the last part, and it continues to grow at astounding rates.
Twitter is not a success because of celebrities tweeting on it. It’s because Twitter is a success that celebrities are tweeting on it.