Seven Reasons Twitter is Important but not Innovative

Twitter is mostly warmed-over email. Don't misunderstand. This isn't coming from a naysayer; I've always thought that email was a killer app, albeit a mature one. Here are seven reasons why Twitter isn't innovative, though it is important as a highly successful medium. Twitter will morph. In the meantime, in significant ways, it's more business as usual than transformational.

  1. Twitter's core component is not radically different from a short broadcast email. Text. Retro. Not that text is bad!.

  2. Short messaging itself isn't new. Forget SMS -- remember text paging?

  3. Instant isn't new. Forums, email, wikis --even Sharepoint -- allow for messages to be received within seconds of being posted. Not as fast as Twitter, but fast.

  4. Followers and Friends may grow with the speed of a California wildfire, but social networks originated with listservs and shared email lists.

  5. Twitter's notion of discourse threads is still emerging. Consider what effort it takes to follow a reply to a reply, especially if some time ("older") has passed between the posts. Twitter's instantaneity can be offset by intervening content clutter.

  6. Twitter's succeptibility to spam is similar to email. Follower lists at this stage of Twitter's evolution are easy for bots to harvest.

  7. Like email, Twitter hasn't found a better way than the hyperlink to connect to the broader net. The hyperlink takes you to the browser, which puts you back in Google's sweet spot, such as it did for email/Gmail.

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