RIP Twitter?

I confess to not truly understanding Twitter. There. I admit it. But RIP Twitter? I don’t know.

I didn’t initially get blogging. I didn’t get MySpace either.

Both are obviously very successful but I think they’re a case of worse is better.

Blogging replaced mailing lists. Blogging was worse but better. Mostly in ease of use and the fact that the results would show up in search.

1. Where’s the Value? There is no substance to the house of cards that is Twitter. No deep content, nothing to learn, no reason to keep coming back to the trough, other than the thrill/obsession of pre-adolescent voyeurism – which is simply not reason enough for busy professionals. I’ve not seen a single legitimate, value-generating use of Twitter explained or demonstrated.

Yeah… Just like MySpace. (sarcasm)

2. Too Much Effort People are lazy. Anything that requires too much time, effort and attention simply won’t succeed in a sustainable way unless it’s tremendously valuable (which Twitter is not, see #1).

Yeah. Just like blogging. (sarcasm)

3. Key Users Will Bail Ah, the double-edged sword of network effects. I suspect that once the community anchors in Twitterati start to give up on it (and they will; wait for the SXSW hangover to take effect) it won’t take long for the entire house to crumble.

Every single one if the ‘technorati’ SXSW crowd could leave tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter. I think the main user base isn’t on Twitter right now.

People forget that the SF geek crowd doesn’t matter. They are not the catalyst which yields a good social network. Witness MySpace for an example.

I still think Twitter has a lot going against it but I’m not sure it won’t be an amazingly success.

It will only succeed if it’s worse yet better.

Update: The only thing that will kill Twitter at the moment is that they run Rails. Ouch. Good luck scaling THAT beast.


  1. I can’t help but bite on your offhand comment about Twitter being built on Rails. What aspects of Rails make you think it is particularly hard to scale? Hard to scale in comparison to what? Java? PHP? Python?

    I’ll state up front that I’m not a scalability expert. I’m sure you could teach me many things about the subject. However, the stuff I’ve read by qualified people within the Rails community consistently point to Rails being just as scalable as other options within the LAMP stack.

    For reference check DHH’s old post about Rails scalability. If things get really extreme you can drop into a lower level language and outsource your Ruby code to C.

    Based on what I’ve read, it looks like you’re doing something similar in Tailrank. Basic front end stuff with the PHP LAMP stack, and the crawler and processor intensive stuff in Java.

    Is there something specific about Rails that you think would preclude Twitter from being able to scale with it?

  2. I was actually about to comment on the twitter issue, but after reading the rails comment, I have to ask – Is rails that problematic? I have been a fan of the LAMP configuration for a while now, but after reading a bit about RoR and watching a few .movs I must say it looks impressive.

    BTW: the link to DHH’s old post about Rails scalability is a 404. Mind reposting ?






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