"Breaker, breaker, looks like we got ourselves a convoy."
Sure sit ups have redeeming value.
Crazy guy: You know those sites, where anybody can post about what's going on in their day? Blogs? Which would you read, a blog post about somebody's lunch or no more than 140 characters about somebody's lunch?
Not Crazy Guy: I would...read...the 140 characters about their lunch because I'm not interested in what they ate.
Crazy guy: EXACTLY! We guarantee a little information of value as blogs, but you don't have to waste as much time reading about absolutely nothing!
Not Crazy Guy: Well....what if....somebody came out with something that was 130 characters?
Crazy guy: twitches a bit no! Not 130 characters, 140! 140!
Not Crazy Guy: oohh.....o...ok...ok...
Crazy guy: Step into my office, because you are fired!
So it this place going to overtake Twitter? http://adocu.com/
The value is in the community, which could be lured onto something else pretty quickly.
Tell that to the MS Bing folks. Luring people can be more difficult than you might think.
I agree it's difficult for one person to lure a community, just as it's difficult for any one person to win the lottery. But the probability that someone will win the lotto is very close to 1.
I don't think twitter has a large amount of lockin yet.
What's the next trend going to be? I'd guess something mobile (though Twitter already has short messaging covered).
Twitter is ascribed far more value and relevance than it deserves. Seriously, valuations in the hundreds of millions just because CNN thought they could foresee the "next Facebook" and tout the product incessantly? Twitter has not devised any system of profitability and to do so seems a very difficult task indeed.
To me, Twitter is annoying because it represents a desperate, clinging ignorance on the part of its proponents. The value Twitter actually provides, which is basically broadcasting SMS messages across various formats and aggregating popular discussion topics, is so miniscule compared to its assigned preeminence. This gives off the impression that Twitter's major proponents are impostors.
And I think that's true. I think that Twitter has come so far because the executives at several media companies beheld Facebook, Myspace, and others, and were determined to get ahead of the "next big thing", so that they could exploit the platform as it took off instead of buying up a fad all too late (News Corp buying MySpace). Twitter had cel-shading, big letters, coordinated colors, and a Mac-esque chic about it, there may have been consultants involved, but for whatever reason, these ignorant, angry old media executives ordained Twitter as the instrument-of-choice in their hypercharged desperation to remain relevant and profit off of the internet.
The promoters of old media's franchises have likewise endorsed the platform, and I'm sure the first thing every celebrity agent instructs is a Twitter account. The agents are probably the ones updating it, too.
So, to many of us, it feels "unclean", as it were. The utility obviously doesn't match the praise and promotion that it gets. It's a platform flooded with wannabes and fraudsters.
It's a darling of media pundits, which we find asinine not only because it's so undeserving as a consumer service, but also because it's so undeserving as a business; Twitter generates no profit now and I've not yet met a proposal for profitability that makes sense. Hacker News is filled with businesspeople who work hard on businesses with tangible profit opportunity, and I'm sure many of us are annoyed to see so unworthy a competitor get the glory as we toil away on useful but unrecognized products.
That's my opinion anyway. I really don't like Twitter because of this; perhaps that's unfair in itself because Twitter isn't really responsible for the actions of its external disciples. It's not a jealousy per se, as I don't hold [much] contempt for Twitter's employees or founders directly, but it is an annoyance at the insensibility of the world we live in.
tl;dr Twitter has some utility but mostly it represents old media's desperation to exploit a space that they refuse to understand.
I'll spare you the equally long winded rebuttal with my very simple observation about Twitter: it has brought RSS to the masses; a concept that was very useful to tech-savvy people but very nebulous and confusing to non-tech-savvy people.
That, and you should try http://search.twitter.com sometime. I assume that you haven't because I somehow doubt you'd hate Twitter so much had you.
Perhaps Google will figure it out someday.
It looks like the rapid growth started around 9/25
See Apple's iPhone development platform. There may be some anomalies.