Twitter: grabbing defeat from the jaws of success

Amazing, Twitter has been half down all weekend long. Dave Winer and others have been writing about it. The problems have been covered on TechMeme and other places where one looks for interesting tech news.

But, don’t miss what’s really going on: Twitter is handing FriendFeed a gift. A major one at that.

FriendFeed has seen HUGE growth over the past month (in the month or so that I’ve been on that service more than 7,000 people have friended my account). That’s faster growth than I’ve seen on Twitter.

Why is FriendFeed seeing this growth? Well, for one, it hasn’t gone down since I’ve joined it. It was built from the start to scale, which after I met the team I understood why: two of the founders of FriendFeed started Gmail and Google Maps, so I’m sure they’ve learned a few tricks about making sure services don’t go down from Google.

I’m also noticing another thing: many of my friends are answering Twitter messages in FriendFeed. That demonstrates to me that their behavior has changed in the past month. If Twitter keeps going down and/or having reliability problems it won’t be long before we change ALL of our behavior and just participate on FriendFeed without worrying about Twitter at all.

Of course, today I gave a talk to Stanford’s Sloan program (bunch of MBA students). Only a handful had heard of Twitter. That’s Twitter’s future growth. What if they hear Twitter sucks and that FriendFeed is where they should participate?

Hmmm.

89 thoughts on “Twitter: grabbing defeat from the jaws of success

  1. Damn and twitter was going to revolutionize the way we… have really incredibly short attention spans and are self absorbed and think everytime we burp the world outta know.

    Twitter’s down. W T F cares?

  2. Damn and twitter was going to revolutionize the way we… have really incredibly short attention spans and are self absorbed and think everytime we burp the world outta know.

    Twitter’s down. W T F cares?

  3. But yet only a handful of tech bloggers have ever heard of WAM Picaso, Prescient Systems, G2 e-SCOR or IFS Apps.

    Nah nah nah.

  4. But yet only a handful of tech bloggers have ever heard of WAM Picaso, Prescient Systems, G2 e-SCOR or IFS Apps.

    Nah nah nah.

  5. Interesting comment about Stanford MBAs and Twitter awareness. I am finishing up my final year at The Merage School of Business and I have been leading the charge of introducing our graduating class to Twitter in our innovative EDGE course.
    It is a work in progress to help them understand the value of Twitter, but at least they have been exposed to it.

  6. Interesting comment about Stanford MBAs and Twitter awareness. I am finishing up my final year at The Merage School of Business and I have been leading the charge of introducing our graduating class to Twitter in our innovative EDGE course.
    It is a work in progress to help them understand the value of Twitter, but at least they have been exposed to it.

  7. One of the reasons you might be seeing such rapid growth on FriendFeed is thanks to the great sign-up process they have designed, which includes you among a bunch of suggested subscriptions to get started. They’ve made it very easy to import other sources like Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Google Reader, Flickr accounts and co. Far better than any other start-up tech I can think of.

    I don’t find FriendFeed useful for real-time conversations. For me, it works best as an aggregator, both to publish a stream of what I’ve been collecting/sharing for others to view and for me to view other peoples’ streams. It’s interesting to see how differently people are using it. Perhaps an indicator that FriendFeed is looking more like a platform than an application?

  8. One of the reasons you might be seeing such rapid growth on FriendFeed is thanks to the great sign-up process they have designed, which includes you among a bunch of suggested subscriptions to get started. They’ve made it very easy to import other sources like Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Google Reader, Flickr accounts and co. Far better than any other start-up tech I can think of.

    I don’t find FriendFeed useful for real-time conversations. For me, it works best as an aggregator, both to publish a stream of what I’ve been collecting/sharing for others to view and for me to view other peoples’ streams. It’s interesting to see how differently people are using it. Perhaps an indicator that FriendFeed is looking more like a platform than an application?

  9. I’m sorry but there is just too much noise on FriendFeed for me to ever use it as my main communication tool. Twitter is THE communication tool for me to connect with my friends and followers, share links and thoughts. I see FriendFeed as a complimentary service to Twitter.

  10. I’m sorry but there is just too much noise on FriendFeed for me to ever use it as my main communication tool. Twitter is THE communication tool for me to connect with my friends and followers, share links and thoughts. I see FriendFeed as a complimentary service to Twitter.

  11. when discussing Twitter or Friendfeed with MBA students one must not forget Facebook… I’m in IT and I both Twit and use FF (among others), but my wife, she is an MBA student (DC area), and her entire program does Facebook. They send messages like Twitter and now they are aggregating like FF. So basically FB is a one stop shot for them. If it is not on Facebook or sent via email (or even their Google Group) it doesn’t happen… As for me using Twit over FF, well if I could post to FF via my cell and or IM, well then I may start sharing directly via FF, but till then… Twit definitely covers me for instant sharing.

  12. when discussing Twitter or Friendfeed with MBA students one must not forget Facebook… I’m in IT and I both Twit and use FF (among others), but my wife, she is an MBA student (DC area), and her entire program does Facebook. They send messages like Twitter and now they are aggregating like FF. So basically FB is a one stop shot for them. If it is not on Facebook or sent via email (or even their Google Group) it doesn’t happen… As for me using Twit over FF, well if I could post to FF via my cell and or IM, well then I may start sharing directly via FF, but till then… Twit definitely covers me for instant sharing.

  13. Get a life. Twitter and FriendFeed are walled gardens and ivory towers for the self selecting sufferers of mental diarhia. While you pose on them, the world passes you by.

  14. Get a life. Twitter and FriendFeed are walled gardens and ivory towers for the self selecting sufferers of mental diarhia. While you pose on them, the world passes you by.

  15. Well said Mike D…

    First off – Robert you are a TNBT (The Next Big Thing) evangelist and love to shout out about how great the upcoming services are. Respect for that – I think a large percentage of their growth is down to you and people like you promoting them. This is a good thing…

    Twitter is about shouting something out to the empty space that is the web and occasionally getting back something cool. I don’t rely on it for conversation (and I hope none of the people I follow do) as the signal to noise ration is very low (and I only follow a hundred or so people) but sometimes you can have a fun conversation or help someone out…

    If people are having their conversations hurt by twitter dropping posts they should make sure that people know to contact them by an alternate method if they get no response… It’s like CB radios – and old school networking if you don’t get a “gotcha, over” or an “ACK” you should assume sending failed or is being ignored or MIGHT be read later.

    FeedFriend on the other hand is a big ol’ tool for communicating and stalking. I think it’s great but I wouldn’t replace something like Twitter with it in a million years… Complementary yes – competetive no.

    Cheers.

  16. Well said Mike D…

    First off – Robert you are a TNBT (The Next Big Thing) evangelist and love to shout out about how great the upcoming services are. Respect for that – I think a large percentage of their growth is down to you and people like you promoting them. This is a good thing…

    Twitter is about shouting something out to the empty space that is the web and occasionally getting back something cool. I don’t rely on it for conversation (and I hope none of the people I follow do) as the signal to noise ration is very low (and I only follow a hundred or so people) but sometimes you can have a fun conversation or help someone out…

    If people are having their conversations hurt by twitter dropping posts they should make sure that people know to contact them by an alternate method if they get no response… It’s like CB radios – and old school networking if you don’t get a “gotcha, over” or an “ACK” you should assume sending failed or is being ignored or MIGHT be read later.

    FeedFriend on the other hand is a big ol’ tool for communicating and stalking. I think it’s great but I wouldn’t replace something like Twitter with it in a million years… Complementary yes – competetive no.

    Cheers.

  17. “I’m also noticing another thing: many of my friends are answering Twitter messages in FriendFeed.”

    How is this any different from the model that Twitter has always had? Twitter gets 10x traffic from the API versus the Twitter web site. I use FriendFeed AND Twitter and the fact that I might respond to a message from FriendFeed is no different from me responding to a message from Twhirl.

    Also, I have only chosen to follow a small percentage of the people that I’m following on Twitter (about 50 out of 600) in FriendFeed. If I followed all 600 of them it would be an information flow tsunami and it would make FriendFeed completely unusable from me. I have cherry picked about 50 people from my 600 Twitter friends and that’s working very well for me. I really think Twitter and FriendFeed can coexist and complement each other. I don’t see it as a competition.

  18. “I’m also noticing another thing: many of my friends are answering Twitter messages in FriendFeed.”

    How is this any different from the model that Twitter has always had? Twitter gets 10x traffic from the API versus the Twitter web site. I use FriendFeed AND Twitter and the fact that I might respond to a message from FriendFeed is no different from me responding to a message from Twhirl.

    Also, I have only chosen to follow a small percentage of the people that I’m following on Twitter (about 50 out of 600) in FriendFeed. If I followed all 600 of them it would be an information flow tsunami and it would make FriendFeed completely unusable from me. I have cherry picked about 50 people from my 600 Twitter friends and that’s working very well for me. I really think Twitter and FriendFeed can coexist and complement each other. I don’t see it as a competition.

  19. The twitter UI is simple to understand. The FriendFeed one is just confusing as hell. Tried to get my head around it but it’s just such a mess with no way of sorting the feeds.

  20. The twitter UI is simple to understand. The FriendFeed one is just confusing as hell. Tried to get my head around it but it’s just such a mess with no way of sorting the feeds.

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