Twitter’s success in simplicity

Mashable is just one of the tech/social media blogs that has fallen in love with Twitter. And Twitter goes provide an interesting case study in social media – orginially launched as a way for people to send and receive updates via text message – kind of a Facebook status beamed right to your phone – it has since become a way to broadcast thoughts, blog posts, and any other random string of thoughts that come out in 140-character chunks.

And I’m a user. You can follow my Twitter feed here (or in the widget on the right).

But, as with many internet startups over the past decade, Twitter has yet to turn a profit. There’s plenty of money being thrown around – both Google and Facebook have kicked the tires on a possible purchase – because of the site’s rapid growth and popularity.

There’s a good lesson if you’re building an online political application. As the Mashable post mentions, it’s obvious why Twitter is growing so fast – it does something very simple, but has an open platform for addition. It is built to be popular and viral first, rather than creating a means to an end.

There’s a way to advertise on Twitter – considering that people are constantly indicating their preferences based on who they follow or what they tweet about, it’s ripe for some kind of advertising monetization. But if Twitter had been built as an advertising platform, people would have turned away. Similarly, a website that only talks about what a voter can do for a politician for something – votes, donations, etc. – won’t be nearly as effective as one that advertises what a politician can do for a voter.

Come to think of it, more politicians should think like that anyway.

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