What is the next Twitter?
- July 9, 2009
- by Simon Whittick
So, as Moore’s idea diffusion curve dictates Twitter is reaching the early and late majorities. Like Bebo, Myspace, YouTube and Facebook before them Twitter is reaching its maturity. We see the celebrity and mass market adoption of the media booming. However, like I did Facebook, I judge a social network’s maturity by when my parents sign up, and yes my dad has just joined Twitter.
I have been reading Seth Godin’s book “Purple Cow” recently and it has led me to the questions: What is the next Purple Cow in social media? Where are the innovators and early adopters going to find their next online social media fix? And can Twitter evade its inevitable maturity?
Candidate 1, Qik – Real-time is the future
Qik is to YouTube what Twitter was to Facebook. It streams live video in real-time, like Twitter streamed real-time conversations. Twitter taught us that in our consumer world which demands immediacy of information real-time is the future. If you look at how media has historically developed text comes first (newspapers), then audio (the wireless or radio), and finally motion picture (television) and Qik is the real-time motion picture. A footnote here is audioBoo which brought us real-time audio, however, in the fast moving world we live in audio will most likely be quickly eclipsed by video.
Qik has been around for a while, in fact our COO, Richard Gregory, was Qiking (The new googling?) our attendance at ad:tech last year. However, there have been blockers to the growth, mostly Apple’s iPhone. At the end of 2008 the iPhone was in the hands of 1 million UK mobile users. I would speculate that amongst these 1 million users were the vast majority of the UK’s social media innovators and early adopters who drive uptake of new ideas.
The iPhone’s inexplicable inability to record video has potentially hampered the growth of Qik. However, the latest iPhone release incorporates video recording. No doubt Qik are fast developing their iPhone app for this, and it could accelerate the adoption of Qik. Investors have clearly noted this recent development with Qik receiving $5.5m of investment yesterday.
Candidate 2, Google Latitude – It’s all about location
Yes, our biggest supplier stole our name. Google, as they often do, took a completely new angle on social media by introducing Google Latitude which, through your phone, showed you where your friends were and allowed you to communicate with them. This is potentially a powerful tool for users and as Alex Hoye previously explained it has great potential for advertisers due to Google’s ability to gather vast amounts of data.
However, uptake has not been huge and there are, in my mind, two reasons for this. Firstly people have an increasing fear of how much data Google have about them. I saw a big brother is watching you programme recently which profiled Google’s data gathering, and despite working in the industry I was scared how much they had. Secondly they do not have an established base of millions of social network users already interacting.
That brings me onto my next point….
Candidate 3, Twitter – What next for the original real-time social network?
The murmurings of the big Google Twitter marriage continue. When you look at it, it makes sense. Google Latitude hasn’t flown, but if you were to integrate that with the current darling of the social networking world and their huge user base Google Latitude can realise its power.
Secondly, real-time search is the current hot topic in the search world. Bing has recently tried to integrate Twitter’s real-time search into their results with mixed reviews. However, Google is still king in the search world and purely real-time results will never give the perfect search user experience. If Google could really get their hands on that Twitter search API and integrate it into their solid historical search results, they would be truly unrivalled in the search engine world.
Thirdly, social networks have struggled to really monetise. Facebook has come closest with their CPC advertising but MySpace, Bebo and, as Google well know, YouTube before them struggled. Twitter search has the most potential to monetise social using a search engine style PPC model. If Google can use their search experience to show Twitter search the way, then we could see the first real monetisation of a social network.
If Google make the move, and use their YouTube acquisition lessons, Twoogle will more than likely be the next Twitter. However, not many people saw Twitter coming and, if Twoogle doesn’t happen, there could be an unheard of newcomer waiting in the wings or Apple could have finally unleashed Qik and their new investors to the masses.
I know where I’m going to be for a while though. @Whitestick13 Comments