Twitter starting to face the global challenge
Some thoughts about twitter and why the hype maybe over sooner than you thought.
I just finished my german article about twitter-sunday: Warum Twitter eine Lücke füllen kann oder Die üblichen Verdächtigen aus D. entdecken Twitter.
Can you understand what this says? Probably not. Welcome to a very standard problem for such an application. Twitter is basically text messaging (SMS as we call it over here and it is VERY big business on mobile phones) with added web benefits. A reduced IRC client with better net connection and a working buddy list.
So looking at the Germans coming into Twitter the last days it was interesting to watch, especially the order. Yes, they are the usual suspects who do such things first, but that does not matter in this case.
Problem is: At the moment Twitter forces me to stay in English or I will alienate 90% of my tweets because they do not understand English. Imagine you would have to limit yourself to your second language – if you speak one at all.
Why? Because I cannot set groups in Twitter by language. Which is going to be a problem and limit the expansion of Twitter. And it forces me and my peers to stay more silent than we would be if there was no language problem.
You will probably only notice a lot of messages when you are sleeping (remember, that is most likely day time over here), and not care about the rest. But this language problem as well as the overflow problem is something which could have been thought of before. Should have been thought of before.
Overflow? SXSW is going to be a test stone in many ways for twitter – because we do not want to know everything. Not from everybody. And some people especially not once they realize that every one of those SMS does cost money when receiving them – see Josh’s “Twitter Ain’t Cheap. (Fees for incoming calls or SMS are unknown in Germany unless you are in roaming).
It should have been though of before that once masses come into the system one will need different levels of ignore / subscribe + following to separate buddies as well as content as well as normal days versus special events.
I already unsubscribe from people who use twitter as it is announced to be – twitter everything. Their level of noise is too much for me. My twittering is more of small blogging than twittering everything. I may use a twitter account (in German though) during Cebit, but that will be a different account.
I should be able to send out messages with a flag like in minor or major twitter message. Which people will abuse – but those you kick out anyway.
So far they try. It works out nicely. But I am worried that people turn away if special problems are not taken care of. And it annoys me because just with a little background in chat several of those problems should be easy to fix from the beginning.
Those are the two major thoughts about Twitter for the moment – and I would like to add the one about money. I can receive twitter messages on my phone in Germany I was told, but I am not sure if I can send out by SMS, I doubt it somehow. But sending out messages per SMS? I don’t think so.
How are they planing on making money? How do they plan to finance the current sending of message?
And what kind of data mining do we allow with the kind of twittering we already do for the moment?
A lot of questions. We will see, perhaps I can meet some of the Twitter guys when I am in SFO for the Web 2.0 Expo in April and ask them about that. :)
Tip: In the meantime take a look at The Several Habits of Wildly Successful Twitter Users
Tags: european view