I’ve seen a number of debates recently about the pros and cons of social media services. Twitter has been high on the list of services under the spotlight – mostly due to it’s sporadic up time of late.
I do sometimes wonder what kind of business model these services have. No obvious advertising, and no fees to pay, how do they make money? How do they make enough money to run the service, let alone make a profit from their endeavors. Ok, I know in the largely open source world profit can sometimes be a dirty world, along with charges, fees and subscriptions, but at the end of the day, however much you’re developing a service or application, you’ve got to eat.
Anyway, I digress.
The point of this article is to make a response to the many comparisons I’ve seen between some of the services.
Twitter is often compared to Plurk. I use both, but I see them as completely different services. Twitter is great in that you can start a conversation on the computer, and seamlessly move to the cellphone, and back. As for the noise, well, there is always going to be a signal to noise ratio. We all post stuff that we think interesting to some of our followers or friends, but which in fact, isn’t.
Here’s a personal example. I’m not interested in getting an iPhone, for a number of reasons that I won’t go into right now. Much as I like to read up on new gadgets, and have done so on the iPhone, it was a screaming noise on Twitter when the first phone came out, and there were a multitude of messages from people giving a running commentary on their status in the line outside the store to get theirs.
However, I didn’t un-follow all these people. I knew they were as excited about their new gadget as I wasn’t. I knew they’d get over it and move on. They did. I’m sure I’ll be equally boring to some when I get a new Blackberry Curve.
I enjoy Plurk sometimes, but it’s much more time consuming. and I find it harder to re-trace earlier conversations at times. It’s all over the place compared to Twitter, and as yet, I can’t use it via SMS, although there is a mobile page.
A different animal to Twitter though, and I don’t see why each cannot co-exist.
The last service I’d like to look at is FriendFeed. I’ve recently joined this, and I wish I’d joined a lot earlier. It’s really like a feed agregator, but I find it useful for snippets of information that I didn’t know about, and while I can get much of the same stuff in Google Reader, FriendFeed focuses it for me. I also like the daily email summary feature. Takes a few seconds to scan down the list, and chose stuff I think I’d like to read. With Google Reader, I tend to subcribe to interesting feeds, and then don’t get the time to read them. With FriendFeed I can at least read some I’d bypass due to time constraints.
Tags: blackberry curve, business model, cellphone, different services, dirty world, endeavors, enough money, followers, friendfeed, gadget, iphone, more time consuming, multitude, new gadgets, open source world, personal example, plurk, pros and cons, signal to noise, signal to noise ratio, twitter, world profit
Well perhaps not.
Remember the likes of Excite and Lycos? They seem to have vanished. AltaVista and inktomi got swallowed up by Yahoo themselves.
What Yahoo CAN offer Microsoft are the deals they have with Verizon, and the inroads they have made into the mobile market.
Windows Mobile 6 might not have the best reputation for stability (what Windows OS does), but WM7 is on the way, and more and more people are using mobile phones for everything but making phone calls.
What about the iPhone? Well, the iPhone is rather a cool niche product, but it does really offer mobile computing in the same way that Windows Mobile can and does, and as most of my readers will know, I am no fan of the Redmond giant.
Also many people that hacked their iPhone’s to work on other networks besides AT&T are now finding they no longer work after the latest iPhone updates. Also the iPhone is, officially, tied to AT&T, which is an expensive, slow, network.
Now, Google are looking to get into this area too. It’s well known that Google are bidding to obtain wireless spectrum, and are touting the idea of an open source phone with free (but advertisement-funded) software.
Google’s fear (besides being concerned that a Microsoft/Yahoo enterprise will eat into their market share) is that Microsoft will use their monopolistic powers to subvert the net; to change it slowly but surely, into MS-Net, much as they’ve done already, in the way they’ve stamped their feet at OpenOffice getting ISO 9002 certification for the .odt format, and they way they’ve only adopted the bits they decide they want in the Internet Explorer rendering engine.
Some say that Google is becoming too powerful, and heading towards a monopoly like Microsoft largely is. My own take on that statement is that whilst Google are enveloping the online world, by and large, unlike Microsoft, they are using standards that are already in place, and not trying to bend and change them to suit their own business practices.
Tags: inroads, iphone, market windows, microsoft, mobile computing, mobile market, mobile phones, niche product, overwhelming majority, phone calls, population, redmond giant, reputation, search engine, verizon, windows os, yahoo