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Comes at the right time for Twitter, as Google Plus is major competition, even if everyone wants to pit Plus against Facebook. (The media likes X vs Y stories, so Twitter's position has not been scrutinised as much as Facebook's.)

Twitter is not exactly mainstream and early adopters have already jumped on Plus in a big way. So they will really need to ramp up on innovation if they are to stay active in light of Plus. The $8B valuation (if accurate) makes me wonder if the risk from Plus was considered. The deal was surely set in motion before Plus's momentum was apparent, and I still don't see people acknowledging what Plus means for Twitter (or for Posterous, Tumblr, etc...but ignoring that for now too).

Twitter is historically lacking in the following areas, which Plus has covered:

- You can't easily follow conversations (versus Plus's comments against a status)

- You still can't search for old tweets. You can't even find your own old tweets. (Plus doesn't have integrated search, but it's already possible via a site: search on google and it's surely coming to Plus.)

- While Twitter has lists, they've never really embraced them the way Plus embraces circles. (e.g. Sticking someone in a circle is always just a click away.)

- While Twitter has favorites, they've also never embraced them the way Google/Plus embraces +1. Given the success of the ubiquitous Facebook Like button, it's astonishing this aspect has never been taken up.

- Better integration of media and links - images, URLs, etc are held as metadata, not shoehorned in with a URL shortener.

- ... speaking of which, the arbitrary 140-character limit is gone, so no more SMS speak and URL shorteners. Twitter did a great job teaching us it's good to be concise, but we can shed the 140 bondage already.

- Integrated into Google's various properties, which is itself a competitive advantage.

- Scaleability has always been a major concern for Twitter (and likely the reason why there hasn't been as much innovation in other areas), whereas we can be fairly certain Google has that covered.

- And of course the business model, which Twitter is still massively tweaking. We can be fairly certain Plus will more than pay for itself in the case of Google.

It's a bit like when the web took over from Gopher [1]. It did so quickly because it subsumed gopher, and it feels that way with Plus. Anything you can tweet, you can plus. But you can do much more with it. For a startup, it would be a lot of hard work getting the user base to make it worthwhile, but with Google they've already been able to build up the network.

I've been wondering lately that Twitter is on the way to becoming a niche network for anonymous users, given the recent real name controversy, unless it gets moving. For now at least, I am getting more feedback from Plus posts than tweets, despite having ~20% as many followers on Plus.

I say all this as a major fan and developer of Twitter who wants the platform to stay relevant. (But also a former Googler, who also wants Plus to thrive...so take it how you will!)

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopher_(protocol)

Twitter is not exactly mainstream

You're joking, right?

Twitter is most definitely mainstream. When Presidential candidates and major news orgs are using your service, I think we can assume it's "mainstream".

Political activists and major news orgs are among the earlier adopters for most platforms. There are plenty of sports people and celebrities too, and all their watchers. But you could say the same about Second Life a few years ago. Twitter's certainly gone well beyond that, but I still think it's much more of a patchwork of many niches than "the social fabric" that Google Plus and Facebook are heading towards.

Uh... the President took questions on twitter like two weeks ago.

If that's not mainstream, I have no clue what is.

Have a listen to this podcast: http://mixergy.com/clay-johnson-bluestate-interview/

Politicians everywhere have learned to adopt technology early, it's critical for public relations and community-building. Just like Obama visits Facebook or Google for a Q&A. So that alone, and even the niche who follow every tweet (as opposed to the vast majority who pick it up second or third hand via journalists) is not mainstream.

Mainstream is hundreds of millions of ordinary people sharing photos with each other. That's the game Google and Facebook are playing.

There is a difference between adoption and if it is mainstream or not. People knowing what twitter is but not giving a shit about it enough to have an account doesn't prevent it from being mainstream. I'd say Ford is pretty mainstream, but only a patchwork of people drive Ford.

I say "not exactly" because it's not mainstream in the same sense that Facebook or email is. When I speak to non-tech people about Twitter (most of whom use Facebook), most of them still find it a bit of a curiosity and few of them actively use it.

The fact that it's not as mainstream as Facebook or e-mail is not a relevant argument. It's like me saying Drake isn't mainstream because he's not as big as Michael Jackson.

Twitter is mainstream. Besides celebrities and other public figures, it's a way for people within industries to follow one another.

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