When I first logged on to Twitter.com, "one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet” (according to the New York Times), I had to say I was a little disappointed. Most likely this was because I was expecting it to be something more like blog sites such as LiveJournal or Blogger, not like the status update tool on my beloved FaceBook.
And Twitter is exactly that. The site was created around the idea that updating our friends on what we are doing is something that we need a specific site for. After playing around the simply designed pages of the site I found that my college’s Student Senate has a Twitter as well, and began to play “Stalker Frosh”, reading all of the actions of whomever it was that was keeping the Twitter.
This became surprisingly addicting, and I quickly found myself searching for more of my friends who might be “twitter- ers” themselves. I found a few, but the low number did not surprise me due to the undeniable popularity of sites like FaceBook and MySpace, not to mention the amount of things you can do on those sites versus the amount of things you can do on Twitter, which would be few: 1) update your status and 2) find your friends to read their status.
I imagine that Twitter is looking to expand in a way, which in my opinion will be necessary if they hope to survive. If The New York Times and Time Magazine can be trusted sources, they predict that Twitter is on its way to being one of the most popular sites on the web. The only problem with this is that these sources give no real explanations of why or how Twitter will grow. In my opinion, the site will have much difficulty with growing if they don’t expand the amount and variety of services they have to offer. It would be great to see Twitter expand, but not if it just becomes another social networking site like MySpace or Facebook.
In order to accomplish this I believe it should focus on a strength, like the pure simplicity of it all, and develop that. I’ve yet to see how it offers any kind of originality, however I can see that it could have valuable applications for student organizations. For example it might be a great, less cumbersome way for groups like Student Senate to keep minutes and connect with other organizations or for collaboration purposes. Other than that its appeal is merely as a tool for social purposes. At first glance, I would probably recommend sticking to your original sites for this. However if Twitter has lasting power, which has been the recipe for success in all other cyber crazes, it may become the social networking site of the future.