This thing is just getting more and more interesting.
Reason 1: The denial-of-service attack that brought Twitter down, could have awoken a sleeping giant – the fact that Twitter is a single point of failure. If that service goes down, the fun stops…and the internet hates it when the fun stops. This Wired article covers some of the particulars, but this sounds similar to something I wrote a few months ago. Mark my words, this event will ultimately spawn the services that displace twitter. Competitors won’t compete directly with Twitter, they’ll just begin to wrap/mask it.
Reason 2: Tweens aren’t Tweeting. I had seen from some of our internal research that Twitter just wasn’t resonating with younger users, but now these reports corroborate that fact. For me this is interesting because (if this service becomes more than a fad) it will be the first service that a younger generation didn’t bring to an older generation. It’s another incident of technology moving in a bidirectional pattern, (which means our society is reaching some comfort/satuation point with technology, it’s no longer an emergent/youth thing). Clay Shirkey had another great example of bi-directional technology movement in his excellent TED talk (the first story, the one about elections.)
As an aside, here’s a great story of how the Twitter was born. Oddly enough, there was a team in pace to build a different piece of software that ultimately became less and less promising. They had to come up with a different idea mid-stream.
My colleague, Diego Rodriguez commented that Twitter works a little like MMPORGs like World of Warcraft. From a distance, it just looks wierd and socially strange. But if you get into it and try to understand all the underlying principles and interactions, it’s infinitely fascinating. (I’m paraphrasing what he said, but I think he’s dead on.)