The Internet is old enough to be a metaphor for itself

by phil on Saturday Dec 19, 2009 2:39 PM

On the eve of 2010, we should take stock of our notion of the Internet. The Internet is no longer considered "young" or in its "early" phase. It has a storied history now and it has a graveyard. Because of this, we can describe current Internet technologies with metaphors of Internet past.

Which leads to the conversation topic du jour: Twitter futurism. Is Twitter a fad? Will Twitter ever make any money?

On the lower-bound, perhaps Twitter could end up like Instant Messenger or Bulletin Boards, which have been perennial targets for monetization with little to show for it. Or will Twitter become the next Facebook or Google?

Or maybe it is a fad, but a fad in the way that MySpace is a fad. MySpace is more like a fad-wave, built on a cascading excitement that is renewed every time your social network expands a notch. So when you initially join MySpace, you have like an initial six-month excitement cycle. But by the time month three rolls around, a group of your friends join, and they start their own six-month cycles, further extending your cycle by an extra month perhaps. Then by month three of their cycles (your month six), a group of their friends join, which extends your friends' cycles a month (and your cycle by maybe another month). Until you find yourself hanging around for a year-and-a-half until everybody you know has finally gotten the MySpace bug out of their system. And then the technology reaches some stable state, half of what it was at its peak.

I kind of feel that way about Twitter. Many users have their salad days with Twitter, whether its by tweeting many times a day, going ReTweet crazy, or fiddling with apps in some hair-brained attempt to squeeze a buck out of it. And then their excitement fades, but not before the Twitter population grows another order of magnitude, thereby keeping them in the game just a little longer.

For me, I've reached the point where I have hardly any new friends joining Twitter, and it's kind of in a stable state for me. Twitter is about as important to me as Instant Messenger or my RSS feeds.


MrCambier said on December 20, 2009 9:02 AM:

I just feel like I need a mobile device from which to tweet and then my interest/use of twitter would sky rocket.

Philip Dhingra said on December 20, 2009 11:24 AM:

That's sort of what happened to Roger, the guy from the Creative Whack Pack. He got Tweetie 2 for the iPhone then went on a Tweeter frenzy.

Squidhelmet said on December 26, 2009 12:01 AM:

You already have a mobile device that can do that.

I'm pretty sure you could always just hit Twitter with a regular ole txt msg (without having a fancypantsy phone)

people-search-free-pages said on January 19, 2010 10:08 AM:

Internet is much more then MySpace, Twitter and so on. It links not only people, but robots, services and other systems in many areas of life. So, internet is out of age. It goes along the timeline...

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