There is an interesting article over at Mashable about a possible decline in Twitter traffic and what could be the cause. The article leads to pointing to a possible concern that Twitter is losing it’s edge and may need to reinvent itself. I disagree.
I think that Twitter is starting to mature and refine it’s usage within the technology space. Whereas it started as a simple notification/update tool, allowing one to post “I ate corn flakes this morning”, it has now changed.
I think Twitter is taking on two personae, both serving different audiences.
1. News Source
I look at Twitter as a modern day equivalent to the Town Crier. Usually you can find information on some event either locally or globally on Twitter first before a mainstream news source has picked up on it. Twitter has the ability through its unique user body to have an almost untapped potential for news gathering. We tend to think of news gathering as something that needs to be done by a reporter working a beat, interviewing people and writing a story around the experiences of other people. Twitter allows the everyday person to determine that story. News does not need to be in the form of a 500 word New York Times article, sometimes the most efficient form of communication is a simple post/update, and if the person reading wants more information they can make the decision whether or not to do the additional research.
I have seen a tremendous increase in the amount of non-people accounts on Twitter over the last year. Almost all major consumer focused companies with a web presence, now have a Twitter account. They use this Twitter account to broadcast out a quick message to their customers about a particular event. Think of the cost savings with this and the ability to reach a group of potential customers quickly. One company that I follow is Geeks.com. They continually send out “tweets” regarding sales and specials. They are reaching a large number of people quickly and saving me time in that I do not have remember each day to visit their website or check my email to see what the special of the day is.
So, while Mashable thinks there is problem in the decline, I am not sure this is the case. I think Twitter is maturing and usage is changing. What Twitter needs to do, is continue to work on how to attract users and how to provide a service that serves the needs of an ever changing user base.