If, like me, you are a regular twitterer, you’ll doubtless have been witnessing the recent boom in popularity that it’s received – particularly in the UK. Thanks in no small part to what will doubtless be referred to as the ‘Wossy Effect’, the mentions of Twitter in the mainstream media have sky-rocketed in the last month or so, and this is resulting in a huge upsurge in join-ups. Figures released recently show that traffic to the site has increased 27-fold in the past 12 months along. Speculation is rife about what the company’s next move will be – it is, after all, a site with no obvious revenue stream at the present (though that seems to have escaped some people). So what will the current attention that Twitter is receiving do to the site? I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past few days, and though I haven’t come to any one conclusion, I could make a few educated guesses…
So what happens once the celebrities start quietening down? Inevitably, the 100s or 1,000s of their fans that they’ve brought with them are going to get bored too – the amount of people that have joined in the past few weeks with the sole purpose of following celebrities is absolutely massive. And once those numbers start dropping, the media will quickly pick up in the dip and prematurely announce the death of Twitter (as they have been doing with Facebook for years now). Whilst the media (especially the newspapers) are very fond of announcing this kind of thing, it would be churlish to expect that it won’t have an effect on the site – if the brains behind the site have struck upon their big money-spinning idea by then, investors and market-watchers are bound to get itchy feet when any kind of dip happens, and we know what happens then.
There are already plenty of ‘add-ons’ to your Twitter experience, but they’ve all been developed by third parties. Just off the top of my head you have picture services like TwitPic, Windows-based services like Tweetdeck, mobile device apps like iTweet and Twitterberry, search sites like TwitterSearch, plus things like TwittyTunes, Shareaholic, Twittervision and many more.
Other bloggers have speculated that the site should offer a “Twitter Pro” account, ala Flickr. ‘Pro’ users could receive added functionality, technical support, non 3rd-party photo uploads, video and much more. Additionally, Pro accounts often flourish because the basic version has been limited in some way – perhaps Twitter will limit the number of people you can follow, or the number of posts you can do per month?