Could Twitter Be Growing Up?

by Christopher Paul on August 12, 2008

I just got done reading this brief article on how Twitter has begun implementing ‘following’ limits on people in an effort to cut down on spam which, I’ve believe, is becoming more of a serious threat to the service after their stability and uptime issues. In the article, Caroline McCarthy links to a post from David Risley who wonders if this could be the first step towards monitoring Twitter – something that, from what most people can tell hasn’t really begun despite rounds of fundraising.

And at that moment when exposed to the idea that Twitter could finally be creating a business model around their wildly popular and often duplicated service, I noticed that Twitter hasn’t suffered from a major (i.e. newsworthy) outage in some time. And… didn’t suffer any major issues during the last WWDC where the new iPhone was officially announced (unlike last time). Thanks in part to Summize, which Twitter later bought, and some other tricks like disabling some features during heavy load times, the service has had, what feels, a lengthy uptime – so much so that no one counts how long its been up before crashing.

So somethings are obviously changing at Twitter.

It’s obvious concern was making sure the system was stable during peak times. Buying Summize… check. The next concern was to ensure the user experience and user base didn’t suffer from bots and other forms of spam. Create artificial limits… check. Creating a business model… eh… not so just yet.

But I do like where Risley is going with his idea that this could be a way for Twitter to mature some more and grow into a profitable business. Creating limits on followers – but charging people to lift Twitter’s limits could be one way. I’m sure there are others but Twitter risks creating too complicated and too expensive a system (keep in mind that SMS updates are costs associated with Twitter that are beyond its control but do affect its user base). But it appears as if all signs point to Twitter maturing into the system everyone wants it to be; stability, experience control, and steps towards profitability are part of that maturation process that’s going to make Twitter even more popular. I look forward to seeing what the folks at Twitter come up with to incentivize people to sign up for a “premium” service or whether the system will become ad supported. Either way, the more the service grows up, the more I’m going to want to pay to use it.

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