(Disclaimer, I am big fan of Twitter and continue to be) I think that that the world of Blogs have gone crazy in the past 5 days and here is why:
Last week, Fred Wilson posted “The Twitter Platform’s Inflection Point” which says “Much of the early work on the Twitter Platform has been filling holes in the Twitter product.” Later in the week Twitter bought Tweetie, a Twitter application for the iPhone. Combined with Fred’s post it caused a maelstrom in the blog sphere saying that third party development around Twitter was doomed.
The theory goes along these lines: if Twitter sees a hole in its offering it has now signaled that it will either buy or create a offering to fill that hole.
Need an Twitter iPhone app? Go buy Tweetie. Need a URL Shortener? Go start TWT.TL. Users will flock to the official “Twitter” products and abandon the other products that they were using before. The theory also suggests it would be harder to for the unofficial products to acquire users.
I don’t fully agree with this rationalization. I want to pick and choose the applications that I want to use on Twitter (and the rest of the web.)
Simply put, Twitter doesn’t “own” me. Twitter can’t tell me what to do with my time. If they provide a service that provides real value to me (and I at this point I do get value from Twitter, a source of unquantifiable Information and quantifiable Traffic to this blog) then I will continue to use Twitter. At the point where I no longer receive value from Twitter I will leave the service.
This holds true for the applications that are in the Twitter ecosystem – if they provide a value to me as a user (or as a business) I will use them, if they don’t provide value they are toast. Business Insider lists several companies like TwitPic, Bit.ly, TweetDeck, Ad.ly, OneRiot, Seesmic, TinyURL, Twitterrific, TweetPhoto, yFrog, HootSuite, 140 Proof, TwitVid, and TweetUp that are S.O.L. These companies may indeed by S.O.L. but it will be by their own ability to deliver value to me (and the rest of the marketplace) that will be at the root of their success or failure.
My single caveat, are those companies that have built tools to live exclusively on top of Twitter. My suggestion is that those companies start to scramble to offer cross platform (i.e. Facebook, Linkedin, etc) capabilities and remove their single point of failure (100% dependency on Twitter.)
Do you agree or disagree? I would love to hear your opinions.
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