SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

12 Days of Christmas – Twitter

Posted by Admin on December 28, 2008


This blog was set up to kinda be the antithesis of twitter (“I know for a fact that my mum will never Tweet – yet her demographic still makes up a huge percentage of an operator’s core subscriber base.”), so I thought that it’s probably about time that I said something about it.

The first thing to point out is that I don’t actually have anything against Twitter itself – you can even find me @patrickjpr (although I don’t tweet much). No, it’s not the service itself … it’s the rabid following it has gained from people in the industry and the fact that it was deemed (by some, many, all?) to be the saviour of the world and the best thing since sliced bread. Someone may even have said it was the new black!

And that’s my issue with it. Simply put, it’s that everyone else seemed to love it so much.

Part of it is certainly down to my contrary nature – ‘if they all love it, I’m just going to hate it to be different’. But once I’d grown up and got over that I realised that it was actually do with the fact that yet again the people at the heart of this [mobile] industry were in danger of making it a club for themselves and not making this something that a) everyone can benefit from and b) an industry can make some real profits.

At this point I’m going to highlight Helen Keegan’s excellent post, following her excellent speech, after the Future of Mobile conference. Check it out here and in particular look at point 3 – ‘We create applications and services for people like us’. To my mind, that sums up Twitter.

Of course, not that there is anything wrong with that – as long we understand those limitations.

Ewan (@Ew4n) at Mobile Industry Review has recently written a really interesting post about this subject. In the comments Ben Smith gave a perfect description of Twitter:

“Twitter is the crap pub you keep going to because that’s where your mates hang-out. It isn’t the place to go if you want to focus on conversations that are all interesting to you, but neither’s the pub.”

What we have to realise is that Twitter is about socialising with mates, overhearing conversations from Stephen Fry or other celebs (but let’s not pretend they are really our friends), talking rubbish and maybe the occassional nugget – just like a night down the pub (without the celeb in my local).

It’s good fun, but it’s not the future … or at least not a future that will include the masses.

That said, there’s a good article here about the kind of people you’ll find (and should avoid) on Twitter.


4 Responses to “12 Days of Christmas – Twitter”

  1. Patrick, I guess you sit with a foot in both the “Online PR” and “Mobile / Messaging” camps – so get the Twitter evangelicism from both sides. I was initially pretty cynical, became briefly interested and now consider Twitter as just yet another communication channel. I agree that it’s far less important than many think

    I pick up some interesting links / opinions and the celeb following thing is quite interesting (e.g. @lancearmstrong, although he’s also getting a lot of flak). I expect celeb following will burn out pretty soon – expect next years X-Factor finalists to all be tweeting!

    That said, I think that anyone in Messaging ignores Twitter at its peril. Multi-platform, multi-part conversations really for some people / groups – it’s out of the box and will be around for far longer than Twitter itself. Just like texting will outlast SMS as a technology (sometime around 2020!)

    How long will Twitter be around? That ridiculous expression “They’ve failed yet to monetize themselves” means ZERO revenue. Maybe they’ll do a Wikipedia and become a trust?

    But would people like Twitter so much if it wasnt free?

    Long term, messaging businesses need to harness the core medium within a sustainable business model.

  2. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today on12 Days of Christmas – Twitter « SMS is the new blackHere’s a quick excerpt12 Days of Christmas – Twitter. Posted by smsisthenewblack on December 28, 2008. snowman1. This blog was set up to kinda be the antithesis of twitter (”I know for a fact that my mum will never Tweet – yet her demographic still makes up … […]

  3. smsisthenewblack said

    Julian, yes you’re right I went through a period of time when I don’t think I spoke to anyone without them bowing to the new God that was Twitter (or at least that’s how it felt). Personally I use it and find it quite interesting and even occasionally relevant. My issue however is that, at the moment, it is not mass market and therefore is not ‘the future’ as many are claiming.

    Who knows it might be ‘the future’ in the future …

  4. […] by smsisthenewblack on January 4, 2009 After I recently posted my views on Twitter (here) and following the conversation on Mobile Industry Review (here), I thought it might be interesting […]

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