Larry Bodine, agent provocateur extraordinaire, has written a couple of posts recently about his belief that as a marketing tool, Twitter is going to have a very short life. I agree, and his most recent post provides what seems to be a lot of evidence in support of his position. For the evidence, read his most recent post. For some thoughts on what it means, read this one.
Everyone and his brother just loves Twitter. I find it sort of entertaining, but as someone who has been in the tech/marketing world for more than a decade, which is an eternity, like Larry, I suspected that Twitter was just a shiny object.
Let me explain that. I have worked with, and am, an entrepreneur. As a species, we absolutely love the new, the cool, the different, the interesting. Twitter is all of these. However, sometimes we fall so in love with the New Thing that we don't really stop to consider how much, in the long run, it's actually going to matter. And in the cold, hard light of reality, the answer is "not much." The "shiny object" metaphor refers to a crow's tendency to be attracted to shiny objects, to pick them up, then put them down, then pick up another one. The net result is zero. Twitter seems to me to be another bright, twinkly object.
A former colleague of mine, Russ Fradin, wrote once that a viable business idea is one which solves a real problem that real people are willing to pay real money for. Although the people using it may be real, none of them are paying real money, and Twitter doesn't solve a real problem.
Any kind of successful communications medium has to deliver a certain amount of experiential richness. Maybe it's design, or beautiful photography, or long copy, or in the case of Facebook or blogs, the opportunity to create and populate your own digital world. However it's done, the medium has to offer at least some of the elements of actual human contact.
Twitter does none of that. It's only 140 characters long, for crying out loud, and it's all text. The upside is that it's easy, thin, and quick. The downside is that it has about as much impact as the proverbial butterfly landing on the proverbial enormous bronze bell -- not much. It's fun, and interesting for about two weeks. Then people move on. Which, apparently they're doing.
I don't know Larry, but I've read a lot of his stuff, and he seems to specialize in coming out and saying the things that everyone knows or suspects is true, but doesn't say. He says it. Good for him.