If I were Twitter…

If I were Twitter, I’d be spending a considerable portion of that $100M I just raised focusing on how to leverage Twitter into becoming a destination, in addition to being a killer data stream.

At the moment Twitter is firmly in the middle of what I call the “phenomenon” phase of its existence. This is a great time for Twitter, but this time is fleeting. Providing/facilitating a real-time data stream is a great resource, however, this data stream is not in unto itself particularly useful (there is just too much data). If Twitter keeps going down this “we are only a data stream” path they are going to quickly find themselves marginalized by players like Google, Microsoft, IBM, etc. In addition, Twitter will quickly realize, if they have not already, that providing a utility is a thankless chore. The people that will make the real money will be those that are able to “functionalize” the data. Companies like TweetDeck, SocialApproach, Ad.ly, etc. (a.k.a. the Twitter ecosystem) that are able to channel/segment the Twitter “fire hose” into a “garden hose” from which individuals can actually receive tangible value will certainly be the winners.

I would contend that Twitter’s greatest asset, at the moment, is not the data itself, but the Twitter brand. Twitter needs to find their “purple cow” and capitalize on it… now!

Back to my opening thesis…

For Twitter to succeed for the long-term they need to figure out a way to make people and businesses want to put their Twitter URL on their television commercials and marketing collateral. For example, during a recent baseball game (go Red Sox) there was a Honda commercial. At the end of the commercial Honda did not provide a URL to www.honda.com, they provided a URL to facebook.com/honda. Sure, Honda is proud to say “follow us on Twitter,” but the act of following is only really beneficial to Honda, not Twitter.

If Twitter does not capitalize on their brand by adding tangible “social” components to their feature set it is just a matter of time (months not years) until they are consumed by one of the big boys for far less than they could have been had they been able to get outside of their comfort zone.

Bottom line… Twitter was revolutionary/innovative in 2007. Today (Q4/2009), Twitter needs to show us they are not simply a spectacularly successful “one-hit-wonder.”


One thought on “If I were Twitter…

  1. This is a very interesting post. If only Twitter is doing that now. Why don’t you email Twitter? Maybe they would seriously consider your suggestion.

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