Last year I wrote a post about what I called the Google Sneak attack. If you don’t feel like reading that post, I’ll make it simple for you. Google comes to market as a benign helpful little search engine that threatened no one. Fast forward a decade and Google now pulls in more ad revenue than most of the television networks combined. It has attacked Microsoft’s office franchise, is playing a key role in the cloud via Platform as a Service (Google AppEngine), not to mention the importance of its entry into the book business and who knows what else. But let’s turn our attention to Twitter. I’ve been using Twitter since 2007. For the first several months I couldn’t quite figure out what this was all about. It was confusing and intriguing at the same time. In fact, my first blog about Twitter suggested that the Emperor has no clothes.
So fast forward to the end of 2009 and several very interesting things are happening:
1. Twitter is becoming as much a part of the cultural and technical fabric as Google did just a few years ago
2. A partner ecosystem has grown up around Twitter. A post from February by Matt Ingram of Gigaom echos this point.
3. The number of individuals, large corporations, and small businesses are using Twitter as everything from the neighborhood water cooler to a sales channel.
What does mean? Despite detractors who wonder what you can possibly accomplish in 140 characters, it is becoming clear that this company without a published business plan does have a plan to dominate. It is, in fact, the same strategy that Google had. Which company would have been threatened by a small search company? And who could be threatened from a strange little company called Twitter that asked people to say it all in 140 characters? Today Twitter claims to have 18 Million users about 4% of adult internet users. I suspect that we will begin to see a slow but well orchestrated roll out of services that leverage the Twitter platform. I suspect that we will see a combination of advertising plus commercial software aimed at helping companies reach new customers in new channels.
I am confident that within the next two years this small, profitless, patient company will roll out a plan targeting social networking world dominance. It will be fun to watch.