Think of the Twitter Trajectory in last three years. Brilliant media coverage, high class funding (just look at the kind of money that is involved: USD 155 Million, in series A, B, C and D excluding the out-of-pocket investment of the co-founding team), excellent traction amongst users across the world and a superb ecosystem for third party applications too.
None making any money.
Even though the search alliances (does it not mean subservience to Google, Yahoo & Bing?) are in place, and media still continues to go ga-ga alongside the powerful news trend feature and several other opportunities that Twitter offers to both businesses and individuals, IMHO there is little value in long term that Twitter can charge its clientèle for.
Besides, it’s not about the revenue model alone (which is a bit validated for Twitter & clones already). The Twitter game fails to orchestrate into a long term value based business ecosystem where the in-coming equations are well balanced with the out-going ones. There doesn’t seem to be enough utility on offer (as of now) to hold the capers against the ever changing needs (say for a term period of one decade) of the fickle-minded move-on-to-something-else type of human beings.
So, will Twitter and the investors behind it, sail across the valley of death? The answer is ‘out there’, as I wish to hide my skepticism. One more market correction and the thin balance might just break apart showing the gap in investment psychology and sense. A simple litmus test of human psychology proves it all. Aren’t we wanderers, who’d keep updating our database of perception about companies, people and applications from Awesome to Ordinary every few months? Emails no longer appeal as much as chat tools as much as social networks as much as Twitter as much as something else in future!
Even the best of long-term engagement tools like Facebook (exception), MySpace & Orkut find it difficult to leverage growth where at least the value offered by the applications clearly have an edge over the Twitter’s current offerings. In fact Twitter does not even build a relationship with a general user. It only tells about what the world is talking about at present, and sometimes none of the top trends seem noteworthy. Only the one-on-one connection that allows ‘following your favorite brand’ and the ‘brand following you back’ (depending on education & pro-activeness of the brand i.e. Filmstars & Politicians etc.) seems a valuable incentive.
According to me, Twitter is yet not a pain-killer for an ordinary user. It would not retain the interest (return-ability) of users over a prolonged period of time. In fact the hazards of clicking into littered viruses & dangerous NSFW stuff across the internet is also very high (A spammer’s paradise).
Twitter should strive to become a concrete offering to virtually tide over the looming up-climb of the Death Valley; which is already quite deep for them. Such as they could turn into a ‘people search engine’ of the future, or mass communication tool for brands or something else. As of now, if I were to catch up with really important news or updates I would still turn to standard blogs, FB, Orkut or MySpace.
So does all the hype and trending around Twitter really mean a good investment by the Valley? No matter how simplistic the application is today, it seems to be an uphill task for them ahead. And one cannot ignore the possibility of yet another market correction where hype & hoopla is replaced by ugly realities.
What’s your take?