December 18, 2018

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What Will Be the Next Twitter?

What Will Be the Next Twitter?

On TechCrunch recently, Duncan Riley declared social aggregator FriendFeed to be “this year’s Twitter.” FriendFeed certainly has people talking, but has it recreated Twitter’s phenomenal buzz? Not really. What about other micro-blogging platforms, will one of them emerge to take the “next Twitter” crown?
Last year at South by Southwest (SXSW), there was a huge buzz about micro-blogging tool Twitter. Most of the attendees had no idea what Twitter or micro-blogging was, but it has since become an immense success. In fact, Twitter has become a critical tool for most people involved in social media.
After Twitter’s great success, it has spawned a variety of clones. There were plenty of people at SXSW this year guessing what might become the next Twitter, and plenty of companies trying to fill the role. Each offered its own new features and approach to the idea of micro-blogging. Here’s a quick run-down of the promising apps that were shown.

Chances are, you have already heard about Pownce. It’s been out for a while and has actually started to develop a following. Out of the apps people were talking about, it is the most similar to Twitter. Each user has a page with a simple list of messages that looks pretty much like Twitter, with the addition of a few new message types, such as events. The differences are not significant, but include more tools for customization, the ability to import contacts from other services and a fancy little desktop app.
In my honest opinion, Pownce is better than Twitter. It provides a handful of neat features and adds a bit more depth than 140 characters of text and connects well to other apps. However, Pownce doesn’t have the numbers that Twitter does and I don’t think it’s different enough to get users to make the jump.

Tumblr comes the closest to what I initially thought of when I heard the term micro-blogging. It provides a dashboard interface to post quick messages, photos and other entries, but unlike Twitter or Pownce, it provides a public facing blog page. Tumblr even gives you the ability to tie it to a non-tumblr domain. The Tumblr people are obviously trying to move to something a bit more robust than Twitter. They are encouraging people to use in not only as a communication tool, but as a replacement for a traditional blog. At the moment their most popular site is about funny dog photos, so they still have a bit more work to do.
Tumblr won’t take many users away from Twitter, but it maybe a next step for many. While I pick on Faildogs, it shows the Tumbler is a solid tool for entry-level bloggers who want a quick way to get started. Twitter is safe, but the guys at WordPress should start looking over their shoulder.

Unlike Pownce and Tumblr, Naked is still in private beta, but there were a few demos shown at SXSW. The service is very much like Pownce, having the ability to post images, events and video in addition to text. In fact, during the demos, there were a few comments about it’s similarity to Pownce and Tumblr. The big difference comes with the control of who sees your messages. Most of the apps in the space, have 2 privacy options: 100% public or 100% private. Naked has a nice variety of options for creating groups with different privacy levels. There was even some talk about message rules, such as all messages from my phone after 2am must be approved on the web before posting.
Naked still isn’t quite the app that’s going to kill Twitter, but if marketed well it could make a dent. It’s the only one of the three apps to solve the privacy/recipient problems that some Twitter users have complained about in an elegant way. With the right combination of IM, mobile and web access, it could turn some heads.
**Not Time for a Eulogy Yet**

With all of the competition out there, Twitter is still king and will be for a while. Many of the challengers bring a few new ideas to the table, but the general feeling at SXSW was that simplicity is still feature numero uno. Each of these applications shows a few cool features, but the features come packaged with lots of other stuff that people don’t want.
It’s only a matter of time before the next big communication tool comes around. Time will tell if it’s another micro-blogging tool or something we haven’t see yet, but for now, micro-blogging is what’s big and Twitter is king.

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