I’ve been thinking about what to write about in my next post and started another topic that I may look at later, but decided to address the on-going discussion about whether or not Twitter is a fad or whether it isn’t. It seems that in personal conversations and online discussions lately, its come up about the longevity and practical use of Twitter.
In all the conversations about will Twitter (or any other social meda tool) be around, there is one point that is critical in determining fad status or not. That is that Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc. are just tools. For example there are many video sharing sites, YouTube, Vimeo, Truveo to name a few. I don’t know which tools will withstand fad status and which will fail, but video sharing is way of communicating that will remain a part of our culture.
If we crack open our history books or Wikipedia for that matter, we’ll find that e-mail has been around in some form or another since 1969. I imagine that there were many around at the time that said ‘e-mail is a fad’ or what ever terminology they used in 1969. Others I’m sure said, ‘why would people want to type an e-mail when they can pick up the telephone and talk with people or write a handwritten letter (which is an artform).’ E-mail clients have come and gone, in fact we are seeing a shift from desktop e-mail clients like Outlook or Thunderbird to web-based clients like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.
The point again, is that e-mail is the technology and while clients have come and gone and there is an evolution in how we use e-mail, e-mail as a communication tool has stood the test of time for 40 years. So is Twitter (or other social media tools) a fad? Maybe. Maybe not. But the concept of social media and sharing and collaboration as a communication medium is not a fad. I agree with Steve Woodruff’s post where he predicts the future of social media:
We won’t be talking about “social media” for long, I predict. We’ll simply live in a global networked community. And we’ll move on to the real work – not adoption of new social media thingies, but making a difference with all the blessings of connectivity we enjoy.
Twitter may not be around in the future, but the idea of pseudo-instant communication that Twitter has presented us with will remain. On more than one occasion I’ve put a question into the Twittersphere and had responses within 10 minutes. I didn’t have to participate in a true active conversation, but had more immediacy in responses then traditional e-mail may have allowed for.