Tony Bain

Building products & teams that leverage data, analytics, AI & automation to do amazing things

Is love for Twitter blind?

January 06, 2009 | Tony Bain

Oh Twitter, Twitter, Twitter.  In almost every respect Twitter has been a perfect example of how not to launch a start up.  They have made blunder after blunder and in application of conventional logic, they shouldn’t be around today.

Issues that come to mind (that I remember) include upsetting half the world when they one day cut off the TXT msg service to everyone but the US & India (without any prior notice) and removing the instant messaging feature (without prior notice).  Then months of availability problems (the “fail whale”, how many other successful start ups have a common term for failure in their users vernacular?).  They have been extremely slow to roll out any new features, I can’t think of any significant features in the last 12 months, their web interface is outdated when compared with third parties.  Yes they have an API for integrating but they have on occasion changed this without warning breaking some third existing party applications.  Now it is security, a whole bunch of users passwords were phished over the weekend and following on from that a number of high profile “celebrity” accounts were hacked in a seemly separate incident (apparently hacking twitters support tools, whatever that means).

But does this matter?  I am still using Twitter today, and I am sure Twitters own numbers while show their user base has remained similar this week to last week.  Maybe it has even grown due to the publicity.  So this begs the question, is love really blind?  Twitter provides a micro community which you can’t really get anywhere else and the users love Twitter because of that.  And just like many relationships this love gives Twitter some freedom to screw up and have their users forgive and forget time and time again.  But also just like being in a relationship this love is not necessarily forever.  If you screw up big time there may be no forgiveness.  Twitter hasn’t done this yet, but I think they would find it hard to recover from a multi day outage or mass data loss for example.  And of course the other potential cause of love loss is something much better comes along.  A more attractive, more dependable alternative that has their head on straight and doesn’t screw up all the time.  But because people are so committed to Twitter this is unlikely to happen unless both of these scenarios happened at the same time, but for Twitters sake I hope it is able to get itself together, grows up a little and makes their users proud.