David Carr published a great opinion piece a few days ago, entitled "Why Twitter Will Endure." It's a thought-provoking read, and he hits on some really great points. Here are a few of the highlights that particularly resonated with me.
Twitter = Plumbing
Here Carr was quoting Steven Johnson, who's Time magazine article on Twitter produced a great quote:
“The history of the Internet suggests that there have been cool Web sites that go in and out of fashion and then there have been open standards that become plumbing... Twitter is looking more and more like plumbing, and plumbing is eternal.”
Twitter = Efficiency
Carr hits on an interesting idea that I find true in my daily usage of Twitter. That although it's additional layer on top of my already complicated array of tools and sites, it actually adds some simplicity into my routine.
"Instead of spending a half-hour surfing in search of illumination, I get a sense of the day’s news and how people are reacting to it in the time that it takes to wait for coffee at Starbucks."
Yet there are a few things I think David Carr has missed that are important to consider.
The Exotic 100-millionth Person?
In the article, Carr makes the following statement:
"Some time soon, the company won’t say when, the 100-millionth person will have signed on to Twitter to follow and be followed by friends and strangers. That may sound like a MySpace waiting to happen — remember MySpace? — but I’m convinced Twitter is here to stay."
100 millionth person? Even the highest estimates from ComScore, Compete and Nielsen put US Twitter visitors at 23 million tops, and all sources report that Twitter may actually be losing traffic.
Twitter vs. Facebook
Carr doesn't tackle Twitter's biggest competitor, Facebook. This same "plumbing" can essentially be found in Facebook's "status update." Many people use Facebook status updates as their Twitter updates and vice versa. There's no mistaking the fact that Twitter's numbers don't even come close. Facebook has already exceeded 100 million US users, and over 350 million worldwide.
In short, I thought David Carr hit on most of the reasons that I love Twitter, and I do think that he's made a case that Twitter will endure... but I'm not as sure about the future of Twitter.
Endure doesn't mean flourish.