The End of Twitter


Twitter just sold their developer platform to Google, and it looks like they’re on the way out.

I’m concerned about this, and I find it quite strange.

Twitter is infrastructure. It’s everywhere. And for that reason it’s super strange to me that it could just go poof.

I’m worried about a couple possible outcomes:

  1. Nothing happens and it just disappears overnight. This seems unlikely because it’s so integrated into so many things.

  2. Someone like Google or Microsoft buys them and they destroy it. Basically, within 12 months everyone will just be over it.

I feel like the best company to buy the functionality and actually keep innovating on it would be Facebook.

Yeah, I know, it’s weird.

But Facebook has the concept of pages that face everyone. They already know who you are. They have validation. They have a really powerful network. They have active users.

And they know how to monetize.

I do see a major problem with Facebook taking it, however.

  • Twitter does a decent job of allowing anonymous profiles, and therefore it can be used as a broadcast system for people who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice. So Facebook would either have to kill that functionality or adjust their requirement for real identities.

Other options

Of course, another option is that Twitter just dies after being fragmented, and then someone else fills the void.

Again, I think someone with a massive user base is a natural fit. Google would be great except they seem utterly incapable of creating and running a social network.

Facebook gets it better than anyone, and all they’d be adding is a public broadcast system. I think if they could find a way to address the true identity issue they might be the ones to fill the vacuum once Twitter is gone.

Maybe that’s by buying Twitter, or maybe it’s by simply doing what Twitter did before it died.

Thinking forward

Ultimately what made Twitter useful and compelling is that it was a personal broadcast platform.

  • Personal

  • Broadcast

Personal because it was individuals pushing their brand of whatever. Humor. Ideas. Music. Etc.

It was a broadcast because it pushed out. People subscribed (or not) and there was a push-based distribution channel that you could consume to see what was happening.

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It’s a realtime interface to the world, from the individual perspective.

That’s something that Facebook can grasp. It’s something they get, I think. I don’t see how they wouldn’t see the value in that.

So to me I don’t see how this empty hole doesn’t get filled immediately by something. People want a push-based broadcast system, so they’ll get one.

Blogs don’t do the job because they’re pull-based. Same with most other social media.

It’ll be interesting to see what ultimately happens with Twitter. I’d love for them to just survive but it seems doomed at this point. The only question is how it’ll be salvaged and/or replaced, and by whom.

I’m pulling for an anonymity-friendly Facebook approach, but mostly because it’s the only company I can see doing a good job with it.

But hell, Amazon is about to take over the world, so maybe they’ll jump in and own it.

Alexa, show the world how awesome this beach is…

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