There are some faulty premises in operation here. While these don't
affect the substance of the answer to the OP's question, you do tend to
follow them beyond to some unnecessary conclusions.


On Thu, 3 Sep 2009 15:21:38 -1000
Kevin Mesiab <ke...@mesiablabs.com> wrote:

> You're asking the wrong folks.  Most of the developers here do not
> have any real capital investment in their projects to speak of.  Fewer
> still have a profit model.

I don't have a profit model, but I do have a revenue model. It's a
non-profit model built around free will donations, a value added
service and a niche community. I run a self-supporting hobby server
that is at the low end of its scalability. In other words, I can add
additional services and 10 times as many users on the current hardware.

A profit model is not necessary. A revenue model is.
 
> Is Twitter a Fad?
> The easy answer, yes.
> The long answer? Yes, but it needn't be...
> 
> Unless Twitter makes a very real move to legitimize itself as a stable
> and growing (relevant) platform for end users, you will be better off
> focusing your capital on social media projects with more long term
> sustainability.

Or diversify. Don't develop for just one Social Media Site. My
strategy is to pick low hanging fruit like Twitter and MeetUps, but
concentrate on OpenSocial for long term.

> Be aware, very few actual businesses have invested real dollars and
> labor into integration w/ Twitter (sales force, dell, whoot, et al) as
> opposed to the thousands who have adopted Facebook's API.

And that's a concern. I think Twitter has hinted at a revenue model in
the past couple weeks. Tightening security and making the Tweet stream
accessible on a metered basis while providing the means for businesses
to extract meaningful data is potentially viable. I think that there
probably needs to be some additional progress made in natural language
processing and AI agents for much of that value to be realized, but the
value is there and at least partially monetizable.

> The reason is not a matter of playing favorites, it's a matter of
> mitigating risk.  Presently, Twitter is a fad.  It's popularity and
> its current growth pattern is a result of novelty and a media bubble.

Microblogging is here to stay. The question is whether it is enough or
whether users will want Statuses "plus", for some value of plus that
means plus polls, plus features, plus complications.

There is a niche, currently close to 45 million users large, for just
microblogging. Doing that and doing it well is one path to success.
Speaking as someone building a Social Networking site for an existing
game application, I don't care about Facebook statuses or similar
features on other sites. I want to push and pull statuses with Twitter
first because that's where the users who care about that feature live.
I'll add the ability to work with other similar feeds later.

> However, Twitter has a very real chance to galvanize that momentum
> into a serious business (one that includes us third party developers),
> but it must move swiftly.  Facebook is posturing to take over
> Twitter's market space.  Not because it wants to obliterate Twitter as
> a competitor, but because they know what we know.  The 'correct'
> social network exists somewhere between FB and Twitter.

The quotes are good, but not good enough. There won't ever be a
correct social network. 'Correct' is different things for different
people at different times. It's only network effect that makes it
worthwhile to accept a sub-optimal feature set for individual needs.

FB has plus. That's a good place for them. They can't plus simplicity,
however, and that's what Twitter has going for it.

> Both companies _should_ be racing towards that space.  Whoever
> dominates it (and thusly deserves our investment) will be the one who
> a.) gets there first and b.) properly courts the developer community
> to enrich it.

I'm originally from Maine. There's an expression there that says, "You
can't get there from here." The 're' in "there" and "here" as well as
the word "you" are pronounced "-uh", that's a voiced glottal aspirate
followed by a schwa.

Race is the wrong word. Facebook can't get there. It's too hard to get
simpler. Twitter needs to set its own course into that space and take
just as much of that space as needed to serve its core functionality.
If it gets away from core function then the revenue model issue becomes
pathological.

> There are only two ways to convince real companies to invest real
> capital:
> 
> 1.) Prove the users are there
> 2.) Guarantee a market

The users are here, but they may not stay if they are treated like a
market. Marketing with social media is entirely different than using
broadcast media. It's viable and monetizable, but it is not easy to
scale. The challenge will be to see if Twitter can become a financial
success without become a soulless waste of electrons like MySpace.

> Apple has shown us this model at scale.

Models from hardware vendors may not apply. The only commodity that
Twitter can gateway here is access to the Tweet stream.

> A rich developer community, incentivized by a Twitter regulated "app
> store," and a firm developer bill of rights will ensure Twitter stays
> relevant (and its users enjoy a rich experience) for a lot longer than
> it should.  It also gets to 'grow up' into a real company and earn
> revenue from a reseller split (again, via Apple).

I'm not developing for Yahoo because their terms say that I'm not
supposed to compete with their services. That means if I run a game and
it is successful then they can copy it and I'm out of business. There's
no viable revenue model for those terms of service.

A developers' rights doc would be a huge plus. The 'app store' metaphor
and central regulation do not necessarily follow, except as part of
following the hardware vendor's pattern. Twitter itself is a great
vehicle for consensus building and Twitter apps could easily be self
regulating.

One of the problems of all this speculation, however, is that it
doesn't really change anything. Twitter's fortunes will rise or fall on
their own strategy and implementation. Whether we participate in that
success of failure depends on our respective capacities for risk.

In Hollywood (where I've never lived), they have an expression, "If you
have to ask, you can't afford it."

Chris Babcock




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