As Twitter strives to become a more lucrative business, it is arguably getting less consumer and developer friendly.
The introduction of “Promoted Tweets” and the growing crackdown of how its API can be used by third-parties are indications of how Twitter operates is changing. People may not like these changes but they’re unlikely to leave Twitter because there’s nowhere else to go.
The lack of competition is one of the most interesting angles about Twitter. Ever since Pownce shut down in 2008, there really hasn’t been any competition for Twitter. Sure, Identi.ca is still around but it is still hanging around the edges, while players such as Plurk and Jaiku (which was acquired and then ignored by Google) have disappeared from the scene.
It raises the question about whether there is an opportunity for an alternative to Twitter to emerge, and what it would take for it to establish a foothold.
With more than 500 million users, Twitter has the power of size, community and loyalty. No one wants to leave a raging party even if the host starts to act strange.
But what if someone decided to throw a “party”? What would they have to offer people in terms of features, usability, an API, etc. to convince people to leave Twitter? If something interesting came along, what would it take for people to take it for a test ride?
In an ideal world, competition would be a good thing for Twitter and consumers. It would keep Twitter honest and cognizant of competitive threats, while consumers would benefit from having companies battling for their attention and loyalty.
What do you think? Is it too late for a strong rival to Twitter to emerge? If not, what would it take?