Buzz probably won’t make much of a dent in Facebook or Twitter or FriendFeed. But… because it has powerful and flexible features and because millions of Gmail members can get in with a single click, Buzz will have its own following…
I disagree. Twitter, in particular, I think is doomed to irrelevance. The combination of its weakening adoption curve, substantially smaller user base, and limited feature set will almost certainly relegate Twitter to obscurity in the next few years. I can explain by sharing some of my impressions regarding Google Buzz:
- Google’s never been the best-looking kid in the room, just the smartest. I think looks do matter in this case, however; the labyrinthine UI isn’t exactly going to help adoption.
- The feature set, including threaded conversations, location recommendations, auto-recommended friends, and more is a bit overwhelming, too.
- I’d like to get more mileage out of Buzz, but message parity across networks matters to me (lest something like this should occur. Especially for business interests, I need to be able to selectively simulpost to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and –preferably– Buzz.
Now let’s look at the numbers. Twitter is tough to measure because of substantial usage off of its website, but these are pretty clear metrics:
- Adoption rates are decreasing and almost leveling off at around 25 million total users, and Twitter has a despairing retention rate, but to be fair…
- Usage metrics are becoming deeper in terms of quantity of tweets and following/followed metrics per account
So let’s put all of this in terms of strategy. Bottom line: Beware of anyone peddling a “Twitter” or other platform-specific strategy. Context, not platform, is what really matters. This is especially true as services like Buzz (and Facebook) enable sharing in a variety of contexts, now including microblogging.
What do you think? Will Twitter fight its way out of the corner or is it doomed to become the AM radio of the social world? Will these trends help to evolve social media strategy beyond the platform-specifc?