May 09, 2009

Is Twitter really ready for prime time?

So now after the likes of Oprah and Ellen and many other stars are adopting it's use we should take a step back and ask ourselves is Twitter ready for prime time? Plagued with inconsistent page loads and widget display errors I got to take a step back and think about the media coverage this little handy tool gets and while I understand press is press; I'm not so sure I'm convinced this product is ready for likes of mainstream adoption.

Many people know about it at this point; but for those who don't. Twitter is a social media application that allows you to provide near real-time updates to a group of connections they call followers. The updates can be as meaningful or meaningless as you like them and people can subsequently reply to them if they follow you. I like to view Twitter as a great messaging engine that connects all of my friends across all communication mediums (Email, IM, PC/Mac, Mobiles, etc) to see what I'm up to or blabbing about at a particular point in time in 140 characters or less of course. If you are looking for a great new way to connect and communicate with people in conjunction with sites like Facebook and LinkedIn I recommend checking it out and feel free to follow me @here.

Now, back to the original question; is it ready for the mainstream "fame" it's been getting? For me, I say it's not quite; for a couple a reasons. While it's a free consumer application its up-time and availability is only "near-decent" when you access it thru 3rd party applications (digsby, tweetdeck, twhirl, etc) that leverage the Twitter API's to connect users to the messaging engine. But when you attempt to perform your updates directly from the Twitter website page loads are lethargic at best and once the page loads it often does load properly prompting to refresh the page.

So what's wrong? I'm not sure since I don't work for Twitter I can only speculate but I tend to be pretty good judge of things and if I had to put on my troubleshooting hat and play armchair tech ops manager, I'd say it's a combination of two things. The application is still fairly immature and is accessed by a user base that growing by the millions each week and its possible both the code and the infrastructure (the systems that support the application) aren't configured to handle that capacity. To me, it operates like a beta (prototype) buggy product. what's sad about this is that it's not even an installed application it's web-based; I tell you my mobile phone is running an alpha (pre-prototype) version of Windows Mobile 6.5 that's more predictable then the service experiences I've had with Twitter especially now that everyone in Hollywood and Athlete-land is using it to tell their fans when they are taking their next shower or dump.

Isn't this company like Facebook and kicking around tons of venture-backed funds? Come on people invest a little make the application work the way we all know it should; stop running on that T1 pipe and man up to a T3. Invest in more developer resources to fix the issues at the application level. I shouldn't have to install a "Twitter-based" status client like the applications mentioned above to use your web browser-based application. Unless that's how you figured out how to finally monetize your business model is buy licensing your API to these 3rd party vendors.

Ok, I'm done ranting and will close-out by saying while it's obvious Twitter has some issues it still is an little application that I like to refer to as my universal messaging application. With many users adopting it and with mainstream coverage Twitter may be the first of the big 3 consumer-based social media applications to "break the code" and have a real revenue model that may prove as the much DNA for its sister companies to get the space out of the hump and make some serious dough. The first company is usually the name for that market, Google, Microsoft, Oracle all figured it out first and gobbled up the rest Twitter may do the same if Facebook doesn't do it first.

Time will tell.

Peace, love, and chicken grease.

No comments:

Post a Comment