10 Reasons Why Twitter is Bound to Fail

Posted on June 24, 2010

When you hear about Twitter these days it’s always about it’s incredible success. Twitter’s growth has continued to spike and has had a major impact on the world wide web. How long do you think it’s going to last? Twitter may be in today but in my opinion it’s going to be out in a few years if not sooner.

Here are 10 reasons why Twitter is most likely going to fail in the next few years:

1. Lack of Use

None of my friends tweet, preferring instead to use Facebook. When I see that I’m one of the few teenagers using Twitter, in a technologically adept school, it makes me realize just how unpopular Twitter is in our age group. Maybe it’s more popular in different demographics? While searching I came across a report on Mashable showing that only 21% of Twitter users are active. Not only that, 34% of the total amount of users have never even tweeted, while a whopping 73% have tweeted less than 10 times. It begs the question: who really does use Twitter?

2. Poor Revenues

Twitter only recently came up with a way to make money, Promoted Tweets. The system allows advertisers to display promoted tweets in search results and timelines.

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The problem is that this revenue system could only work as long as Twitter users are very active. However, as previously stated, only a small percentage of users are active. In other words, this revenue system will be highly ineffective as Twitter slows down.

3. Loss of Interest

Novelty factor was a big portion of Twitter’s success. The incredible growth rate proved just that. As the novelty of Twitter wears out, less and less people are going to stick with it.

4. Bots and Spam

One of my biggest problems with Twitter has been spam. 24% of tweets have been created by “spammy” bots. When I look at my Twitter account, it seems that almost 90% of my timeline is filled with spam. Why would anyone want to continue using a service with that much junk mail?

5. Competition

One word, Facebook. Facebook is the social media behemoth of today and possibly tomorrow. As long as Facebook stays that way, Twitter will never take its place.

6. 3rd Parties

Twitter is too simple and requires too many third party services in order to do anything clever. This has led to the growth of Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, TwitterCounter, Twitter Karma, TweepML and so many other services. This is asking too much of users and most users will not want to do this.

7. The Next Fad

As with most social media networks, competition will take users elsewhere. Even Facebook may be replaced one day, just as Myspace was. It may happen sooner rather than later with Twitter due to lack of interest and loss of users.

8. Fail Whale

I keep thinking, I’m going to have make an oath that I’ll quit Twitter if I see the Fail Whale one more time. For those of you that don’t know what I’m referring to, the Fail Whale is the image that shows up when Twitter is down. About every other time I visit Twitter, the site is down.

9. Lack of Purpose

Honestly, do you understand what Twitter is about? I don’t at all and highly doubt that I’m alone. That same Mashable’s report actually dealt with this issue. 87% of Americans are aware of Twitter but only 7% use it, which shows that a huge number of people don’t understand it.

10. Security Issues

There are potentially major security risks associated with Twitter and as those risks become exploited over time, the brand will become less and less appealing to most people. Recently, major figures have had their accounts hacked, and spammers continually make Twitter unsafe. Atleast it doesn’t have Facebook’s PR problem though.

As you may have noticed this post has become extremely controversial. BeBizzy even wrote an entire post disproving what I stated. 

I just wanted to remind everyone, that I’m not saying that Twitter is a terrible social network. I use Twitter and I find value in it. I’m only giving my opinion why I believe Twitter will not make long term. Please share what you think.

81 Replies to "10 Reasons Why Twitter is Bound to Fail"

  • C-J
    June 24, 2010 (1:58 pm)

    Wow, haha,
    Everyone I’ve known has always recommended that I used twitter. Great reasons though man! Twitter might end up failing after all.


    • Ben Lang
      June 24, 2010 (3:44 pm)

      Well I didn’t recommend that you don’t use Twitter at all. These are just the reasons why I dont think it will be around in a few years.

      • CJ
        June 24, 2010 (3:52 pm)

        Understood, I just haven’t seen any great increases in traffic since I started using it so I might quit using it on my own accord! We’ll see though!


        CJ’s last blog Why You Will Fail at Growing Your Online Income

  • Vivek Krishnan
    June 24, 2010 (2:35 pm)

    Hi, good post.I understand the controversy
    element you aim at. However, to be really frank Twitter is just catching on.

    It is too early to talk about its decline.


    • Ben Lang
      June 24, 2010 (3:56 pm)

      Thanks, well Twitter has been around for a while and if you look at a graph of the number of users you’ll see a huge spike around last year. In my opinion the number of users is going to keep descending, if I think about 10% of the users create 90% of the content on Twitter something is very wrong…

      • Vivek Krishnan
        June 24, 2010 (6:14 pm)

        HI Ben, no Doubt the stats will support your claim on Twitter- it has a poor retention rate, and 40% users have not ever sent out a tweet.

        But consider this, the most interesting and successful people on the planet prefer Twitter over any other social media to connect worldwide. They are also fanatics who tweet from everywhere they go.

        Twitter sucks while engaging most users, but there are no lack of sticky users either.

        And from my part of the world- India, you have to understand that the Twitter craze is still catching on. It is only bloggers, techs like me who end up optimizing it.

  • Ryan
    June 24, 2010 (2:47 pm)

    Hi Ben,

    Great contrarian post here. Most are on the twitter bandwagon so it’s cool to see someone take the other side.

    I generate substantial interest through twitter and am an optimist, so I see it as a success and believe that it stays popular, at least as long as I use it 😉

    Twitter is whatever you make of it. Plenty of noise out there but if you tweet consistent content you can develop a strong, loyal community like any other social networking site.

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Ben Lang
      June 24, 2010 (5:22 pm)

      Hi Ryan.

      Yeah, that’s exactly what I was hoping for. Controversy usually breeds success.

      You definitely have a point. From what I’ve been seeing lately, it just seems as if it’s not going to be around in a while.

      Maybe it will stay around because of you though 😉

  • Martin
    June 24, 2010 (3:03 pm)

    I will have to disagree with all these reasons except #8 and I could list so many why, but that will take some time.
    My mine problem with twitter is the increase of “the fail whale”
    Nevertheless great post, and I do understand from what point of view your writing this.

  • Murlu
    June 24, 2010 (4:11 pm)

    Ben, I’m glad you’re taking a stand on this and voicing your opinion.

    I think, at its core, Twitter will stay around for those that really want to use it but there will be problems as Facebook continues to spread its domination on the web.

    Twitter still gives us a great platform to work and promote but my favorite has always been forums so I assume people will get to the point like I have with these forums, it’ll be distilled in them but for later generations they’ll have their own “nostalgia”.

    • Ben Lang
      June 24, 2010 (5:25 pm)

      I’m also glad. Yeah I think they see Facebook as their biggest challenge.

      I don’t know about Twitter being a great platform. From what I just read below by Tyler, he believes that Twitter is a terrible platform.

      Well we’ll see in a few year.

      PS: Hope you’re enjoying the book!

  • Tyler King
    June 24, 2010 (4:38 pm)

    Ben, I hope you’re right about Twitter. The way I see it, there are two ways to judge a social networking service: the platform, and the users.

    From a platform standpoint, Twitter utterly fails. As you mention, the limitations are crippling, and it isn’t reliable. All the apps built for it just add functionality that should already be there. Very few third-party apps actually make use of Twitter to do something interesting (unlike Facebook apps).

    From a user standpoint, the ecosystem is dysfunctional. Especially when it comes to people using Twitter for business (like all of us), everyone follows as many people as they can so that others will follow them. When you’re following 20,000 people, you can’t actually read any of the content.

    So yeah, I don’t understand why it’s popular in the first place, but I’d love for your prediction to come true. There’s no reason for so many people to use such a weak social platform.

    • Ben Lang
      June 24, 2010 (5:27 pm)

      Great points Tyler.

      I must say I don’t know how anyone could argue against what you’re saying. The platform is terrible, and the user base is dysfunctional, period.

      In a few years from now, I’m sure our prediction will be close to true. Thanks for sharing you’re opinions.

  • Tweets that mention 10 Reasons Why Twitter is Bound to Fail -- Topsy.com
    June 24, 2010 (6:19 pm)

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ryan Biddulph, Ben Lang. Ben Lang said: Do you think Twitter is going to fail?! http://su.pr/2c18fN […]

  • KS Chen
    June 24, 2010 (9:47 pm)

    Thanks for your sharing Ben! In my opinion, everything might be replaced by other new things except we keep on developing and evolving ourselves. Google is one of the best examples to be mentioned. The Google Team keeps on developing their business not simply depends on the search engine but also in other aspect of internet.

    • Ben Lang
      June 24, 2010 (10:49 pm)

      Sure, you bring a solid point. Maybe if Twitter continues to innovate they’ll stay in the game. But at the rate Facebook is, seems like they’ll never be able to continue competing.

  • Tatiana
    June 24, 2010 (9:48 pm)

    Ah. This article is neon sign pointing out a Twitter user who hasn’t learned Twitter. Chances are, you joined in ’09 with the boom and in the hubbub never looked around to see what Twitter was about. The same thing happened with Myspace, but you’ll notice that while all the bandwagon users have moved back off, it’s core base (artists, businesses, etc.) have stayed on b/c they knew what Myspace was really about in the first place. Twitter will be the exact same way.

    Twitter will always be a better platform than Facebook BECAUSE it features none of the bells and whistles. And the core users like Twitter because it engages people in a much more advanced way than Facebook ever could: conversation. Facebook is…texting to Twitter’s phone call. It’s real-time, fast-paced, and more effective.

    Now, I understand why you wouldn’t like it. You’re most likely going after the “quantity” benchmarks of Twitter than the “quality” benchmarks. What do I mean by that? Tyler exemplified it. Tyler doesn’t get Twitter. He thinks people are supposed to get as many followers as possible or follow as many people as possible. Quantity. A skilled Twitter user knows it’s quality. Follow people whose tweets/conversations are of interest to you. Follow the people who are in their circle of tweeps so you don’t miss any of their convos, and for god’s sake, interact. Twitter is not for “friends.” You don’t have to follow people who don’t interest you, even people you know in real life. As a matter of fact, I would recommend that you follow people you DON’T know. Why add one more way for people who are already your friends to hold the same conversations? Twitter is about strangers and making connections with them.

    Facebook is the club’s dance floor. Anybody who’s in is on the dance floor, but they dance within the same circle of friends they came with and conversation is superficial. Twitter is the VIP room. While some people who aren’t really part of that crowd can get in with a pass, they don’t know how to network in there. There’s no dancing in the VIP room, but the conversations held in there create the business deals that affect all the “Facebookers” out on the dance floor. It why like someone above said that the most interesting and successful people prefer Twitter to any other network. It’s because THINGS GET DONE on Twitter if you know how to network right. Facebook just doesn’t have that. Even if you friend everyone you see on the street you can only learn about them one status at a time in the barrage of information overkill streaming into your News Feed.

    Ben, you have a great blog. You need to purge your following/follower list and start over with the right tweeps.

    • Ben Lang
      June 25, 2010 (11:58 am)

      First of all, congratulations on writing a comment almost longer than the post itself, that’s quite a feat.

      I understand what you’re saying, and you are definitely entitled to say that because you’ve been using Twitter for a long time, even before it became popular.

      I disagree though about Facebook, I think its much more powerful than Twitter, and will remain that way forever.

      Anyways, we’ll see in a few years what happens :)

    • james lee
      June 26, 2010 (10:11 pm)

      Tatiana, Ben,

      These are two great points but I have to say that your post ben, is somewhat biased. As tat mentioned, her points are valid and not to mention the strengths of what Twitter brings is unfair. I personally was a Facebook fan that thought Twitter is useless. Facebook has everything Twitter has and more.

      My outlook on Twitter changed once I got out of my circle and understood the power of networking and its necessity. The networking power Twitter provides is far different than Facebook or linked in. It’s a medium for you to get info and connections outside of your circle.

      The only issue I see with twitter is that there are many people on this world that are cautious of publicly expressing themselves anxieties the reason why Facebook is so popular. But Facebook as it stands does not offer what Twitter does. Maybe one day, they will provide a follow function in Facebook but even then, due to the nature of Facebook and its purpose, I don’t believe it will ever trump or knock Twitter out.

      All in all, Twitter provides a unique ecosystem for people to easily network. It has changed me from being an exclusive Facebook user to using Twitter over Facebook 90% of the time. Once you venture into a new world your old friends just don’t seem to matterr. It’s everyone else that does.

      • james
        June 26, 2010 (10:13 pm)

        To add a little something, I would not have read this blog post if it wasn’t for Twitter. I am fo llowing you on Twitter but not on Facebook.

      • Kila Morton
        July 7, 2010 (1:45 am)

        James, you get twitter and I think that is what is missing from a lot of people. A lot of people are trying to use Twitter like a promotional tool without really tapping into the quality factor. Who cares if you have 20,000 followers that you don’t interact with and who aren’t truly connected to your brand? People don’t get that because the number looks good. It is all about what you are after. Having your friends follow you is useful if that is what you want, but your friends are already connected to you. Once people start getting OUTSIDE of that comfort zone and start networking with real people, things become a little less comfortable (change is always a little uncomfortable), but the value of Twitter rises exponentially. Twitter should not be just your post or site promotion tool. Instead, it should be your tool to network with others, grow your business and find like minded individuals to grow with and learn from – unless you think you have nothing left to learn in this world :-).

  • Shirley Osei-Mensah
    June 24, 2010 (10:33 pm)

    I think that Twitter will survive cos I don’t see it failing, at least any time soon. I think it has a lot of potential and a bright future so I think it’s going to grow and grow.

    That’s what I think :).

    • Ben Lang
      June 25, 2010 (11:59 am)

      Well there has to be reasons for it not to fail? Why do you think its not going to?

      • Shirley Osei-Mensah
        June 25, 2010 (1:10 pm)

        I think it’s not going to fail cos it’s serving as many things now for example as a news source for journalists and the worlds as a whole, it’s also serving as a source of traffic for bloggers and web publishers as a whole and these people, the journalists, web publishers, bloggers, are not going to stop using it cos it’s giving them great, positive results, and even world leaders are joining and even the President of Russia joined two days ago.

        So I don’t think it’s anywhere near failing and or at least not soon :).

        • Ben Lang
          June 25, 2010 (4:52 pm)

          I understand your points. It seems like its just blown up though, it definitely has changed a lot of the web. Well we’ll see :)

  • Joe Boyle
    June 24, 2010 (11:20 pm)

    Hey, Ben,

    I don’t think Twitter will fail because of lack of revenues. If anything, revenues are lacking because of the Tweeters, not the social network itself. If people didn’t have to send out so many ads on what should be a SOCIAL network, there wouldn’t be a problem.

    Adding my two cents, whether they be crappy or not, great post, Ben.

    • Ben Lang
      June 25, 2010 (12:02 pm)

      Hey Joe,

      You’re right, lack of revenues is a product of a loss of users. In order for Twitter to survive though, they need to make money, which I don’t think they have so much potential to.


      • Joe Boyle
        June 25, 2010 (4:23 pm)

        No, I’m saying lack of users is a product of too much revenue. Twitter wasn’t meant to be a cash machine, it was meant to be a social engine.

        • Ben Lang
          June 25, 2010 (4:51 pm)

          Oh ok I got it, was confused before. But a company is a company, if they dont make money they wont grow and be able to survive.

  • david
    June 25, 2010 (2:47 am)

    I used to use twitter a lot and i am sort of a spammer because I auto publish my blog posts but I get tired of all the people adding me(bots). At one point I used it a lot and retweeted any good tweets but It is old now. Facebook is to spammy also, hopefully something new with all the options everyone wants comes out soon.

    • Ben Lang
      June 25, 2010 (4:54 pm)

      Yeah, its become full of so much spam. I keep my Facebook clean, I find it much easier. Good luck!

  • Nabeel | Create Your First Website
    June 25, 2010 (7:14 am)

    Well I do not have an opinion regarding this. Though, you give some compelling reasons.

    It may fail or it may not, but only time will tell.

    But for now, I will continue using it for my marketing purposes (though I have not really used it much).


    • Ben Lang
      June 25, 2010 (12:02 pm)

      We’ll just have to wait and see.

      Good luck Nabeel!

  • adhi
    June 25, 2010 (8:55 am)

    for me, twitter is not a lot of help. existing facilities in twitter can be found on facebook, twitter fewer provide added value. people come just because of being the trend to use twitter. I was not using it anymore

  • JR
    June 25, 2010 (12:19 pm)

    Personally, I think Twitter is an enormous waste of time, and difficult to manage in certain ways.


    I do not think it’s likely that Twitter will fail, it is a unique concept that while of course not everyone uses, enough do. The news media, politicians, celebrities, they are enough to keep the Twitter name in the spotlight.

    I do think though that you made some strong arguments in your post as to reasons why it might fail and of course Twitter, like any other Internet medium always has to stay on top of their game to push forward.

    • Ben Lang
      June 25, 2010 (4:56 pm)

      It does require a lot of effort, and doesn’t seem to pay off.

      Yes, celebrities, media etc. do use it, does that mean its not going to fail? I dont know, we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • BeBizzy
    June 25, 2010 (1:09 pm)

    I understand that Twitter is NOT useful for you, but to say it will fail is a very narrow view.

    I published a rebuttal to your post on my blog, http://ow.ly/23jyI .

    Looking forward to your thoughts.

    • Ben Lang
      June 25, 2010 (5:03 pm)

      I did not say its not useful. I myself use it as you can see.

      I don’t think that it’s narrow to state why I believe its not going to stay long term.

      I really enjoyed reading your post, and linked to in the post by the way.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing
    June 25, 2010 (1:38 pm)

    #8 somewhat contradicts #1, no? The fail whale appears when twitter is over capacity, meaning too many tweets at once.

    FYI – who said twitter would ever, should ever, or could ever REPLACE facebook, or any other network?

    Completely different services.

    • Ben Lang
      June 25, 2010 (6:36 pm)

      You bring up a good point but the huge amount of tweets is mostly spam, and users that tweet an incredible amount of times.

      Here check out this article: http://bit.ly/csE099

  • Onibalusi Bamidele
    June 25, 2010 (2:20 pm)

    Really Great Post Ben!

    You have solid facts here.

    I love twitter over any other social network but I know they have a lot of work ahead. One thing i noticed about them is they are not taking the user aspect into consideration – it is like they have a boss who is controlling everything.

    They really need improvement and every social networking site might come to an end one day. Let’s see how everything goes.

    Thanks a lot for the great post,

    • Ben Lang
      June 25, 2010 (6:37 pm)

      Thanks Onibalusi!

      I very much agree, we’ll just have to wait and see. Thanks for your support :)

  • Tweets that mention 10 Reasons Why Twitter is Bound to Fail -- Topsy.com
    June 25, 2010 (3:59 pm)

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dennis Edell, Murray Lunn. Murray Lunn said: 10 Reasons Why Twitter is Bound to Fail http://bt.io/FUy9 […]

  • Susie S
    June 25, 2010 (5:07 pm)

    As a business user I find Twitter utterly disappointing. The hype has been huge, but the results small.

    There’s too much noise on twitter. It’s just people shouting out, hoping someone (anywhere?) is listening to them.

    The worst part is when people flood a topic. The same company will send the same message 50 times.

    Honestly, there are far better ways for marketers to spend their time.

    Search on a useful topic, such as “online conversions.” It’s just everybody hyping their ware. But to wade through all of those tweets is a huge waste of time.

    Facebook, on the other hand, not THAT gets you leads.

    • Ben Lang
      June 25, 2010 (6:39 pm)

      Hi Susie,

      I for sure understand what you’re saying and I think that’s what is going to lead the end of Twitter. Between Facebook and LinkedIn there’s so much more to benefit from.

  • John
    June 25, 2010 (11:06 pm)

    Ben, I think you’re right on the money with most of those, especially the “fad” aspect. It seems like a lot of users (or at least some high profile ones) are already looking for the next big thing.

    • Ben Lang
      June 26, 2010 (6:08 pm)

      Thanks for your support. Yeah the “fad” aspect isn’t common just to Twitter, its for everything in life.

  • Jason Wheeler
    June 26, 2010 (4:08 am)

    Great way to get people talking Ben. Controversy works every time. I would be quite surprised to see Twitter fail myself.

    • Ben Lang
      June 26, 2010 (6:09 pm)

      Agreed 100%. I think its working quite well. Jason, we’ll just have to wait and see :)

  • DiTesco
    June 26, 2010 (9:28 pm)

    So seems that there is someone with a vision. Obviously not a vision that all will concur too but you have my respect for having the guts to provide your own views and opinion as to the future of Twitter. You do point out some very important issues and indeed 10% of 90% is very scary considering that there are people out there that “eat” and breath Twitter. I am an avid user although I won’t kill myself if it disappears. The Twitter phenomenon will indeed disappear if and when a worthy adversary comes in to take the throne. When that happens, it is most likely that I will be one of its users as well. Thumbs up!

    • Ben Lang
      June 26, 2010 (10:38 pm)

      Very nice to hear what you think.

      I would say that you believe in the “fad” theory. Twitter will eventually wear out and when it does, you’ll be happy to switch to something newer and better.


      • Jason Wheeler
        June 28, 2010 (3:51 pm)

        Cmon you guys. Social networking is not a fad. The only way twitter will fail is if someone finds a way to do micro blogging better.

        Look at MySpace. They got left in the dust because Facebook did it better.

        That being said who is Twitters competition when it comes to micro blogging? I don’t know that they have one.

  • Alex Ainsberg
    June 26, 2010 (9:59 pm)

    Sorry to all you twitter fans, but I agree with this post. I don’t think twitter is what it was meant to be. I understand the basic principles and the ideas surrounding twitter, but it isn’t happening. When I first joined, I believe my first follower was a porn star or website. Easily 95% of my feed is full of spam, regardless of who I follow. Twitter needs to find away to make the system work. They need to ensure that users are not abusing the platform.
    Then, of course, there is that issue of advertising and sponsored tweets. I will be honest, I have tried to make money through twitter using sponsored tweets, but no one likes the irrelevant advertisements and frankly, they simply add to the spam.
    Twitter is a good way for small companies to throw out bits of information to their users, but I can no longer find those bits of information amongst the spam. I am not sure twitter will fail, but I am confident its popularity will diminish and perhaps a better, yet similar platform will emerge.

    • Ben Lang
      June 26, 2010 (10:40 pm)

      Alex, you have my consent. Too much spam, too much disorder, and lack of benefit.

      We will just have to wait and see what happens to Twitter, whether something replaces it or it succeeds even more.

  • Ethan
    June 27, 2010 (12:53 am)

    Twitter and Facebook is another Apples to Oranges debate.

    Facebook is largely friend based, Twitter thrives on the open network and is based on your ability to network effectively. If you want better engagement with the few hundred out of 10,000 actaully interact then consider thinning out the list of people you follow to those who you really care about receiving tweets from – the autofollow scripts of many of your followers will take cares of the rest.

    In regards to the revenue “issue” Twitter inked deals with both Google and Microsoft(Bing) worth $25 million per year. I wouldn’t quite call $25 million a “lack of revenue”.

    In regards to lack of use – those who say teenagers don’t use Twitter have obviously never heard of Justin Bieber and the hundreds of thousands of teen girls who kept him on the trending topics list for an age and a half.

    Well done sparking a discussion Ben, and thanks for citing the sources for your stats!

    • Ben Lang
      June 27, 2010 (11:11 am)

      Hi Ethan,

      The thing is this post wasn’t supposed to be comparing Facebook and Twitter. Just Twitter…

      Yes Twitter did make that deal but they’re still not profitable. Justin Bieber may have been on trending topics for ages but that doesn’t mean everyone is tweeting equally. Here’s an interesting article about that http://bit.ly/csE099

      Thanks, it really has provided a great spark for discussion.

  • Rishikesh Sinha
    June 27, 2010 (1:51 pm)

    A case in point: In India Orkut was at top [take one or two years back], but now with aggressive marketing [offline and online], Facebook has become the choice of the teenagers.

    • Ben Lang
      June 27, 2010 (3:11 pm)

      Yeah, that’s because all of these networks are simply fads. Twitter is a fad and so is Facebook even…

  • DiTescos Weekly Echo #22
    June 27, 2010 (9:17 pm)

    […] 10 Reasons Why Twitter Is Bound To Fail: Interesting points of view from Ben Lang. After reading this, let me know if you are of the same opinion. […]

  • Steve Youngs
    June 28, 2010 (12:02 am)

    Hi Ben!

    Firstly, I’m neither agreeing or disagreeing with you here, Ben. But to take each of your points in turn…

    #1 Lack Of Use: Erm, dude! Have you looked at Twitter’s Alexa stats lately? :-) Worldwide rank is 11; US rank 9; 680k sites linking in. Somebody’s certainly using it. :-)

    #2 Poor Revenues: First of all, Twitter is not an income vehicle, it is simply social media. Secondly, the people at Ad.ly, Sponsored Tweets, MyLikes (to name just 3 companies making serious $$$ from Twitter) would disagree with you here. In fact, these ad companies have been so successful with marketing on Twitter that Twitter themselves started their own marketing thing.

    #3 Loss Of Interest: See my points for #1 :-) But don’t forget that Google Buzz had an incredibly short novelty period too. Both Buzz and Twitter may very well experience several of these “novelty periods” as waves of new people join each.

    #4 Bots & SPAM: Yeah, at first glance you might think it is a problem. But you have told us that 76% of tweets are spam-free from real people. As a comparison, it has been estimated that more than 97% of all emails are spam. Compared to email, tweets are beautifully spam free. :-)

    #5 Competition: Competition is GOOD! It is how we grow and have progress. Without competition you’re dead. But Twitter’s competition is NOT Facebook. Facebook is a completely different animal. Twitter’s competition isn’t Google Buzz either, IMO. The 2 services are similar in some respects, but vastly different too. A better example of a Twitter competitor would be identi.ca

    #6 3rd Parties (Twitter is simple): Simple is good. In fact, the simpler, the better. Twitter has specifically designed their service and API to be as simple as possible to encourage 3rd parties to write the apps for the eye-candy. It lets them concentrate on what is important. You don’t necessarily need to use these 3rd party apps to use Twitter. Your experience will probably be more enjoyable with them, but they are not required. Just like you don’t need an email program to read email, or a web browser to use the web. Both of those can be thought of as 3rd party apps, but I don’t think many would complain about having to use them.

    #7 The Next Fad: hmm, Twitter started in 2000, that’s a fairly long fad, especially in internet time-frames. :-)

    #8 Fail Whale: There’s one negative and two positives here… the negative is that it happens too often (where “often” is an arbitrary value greater than zero). The positives are… isn’t it better to see a whale than to stare at a blank browser page wondering if the page is ever going to load? And the other positive is that you are getting the whale because Twitter is so popular. :-)

    #9 Lack Of Purpose: The way I see it, it is about communication (even if 99% of the time it is one-sided). Humans need to communicate, so much so that they will do so even if they don’t ever get any response. It is tied in with our built-in need to be near other humans, to associate with others just like us. But if you are still not sure, visit http://twitter.com/ in your browser and at the top of the screen it tells you with a question: What’s happening? :-)

    #10 Security Issues: Wow, if only microsoft had as few security issues as Twitter has ever had, or ever will have. Yes, Twitter has had some security related issues, but they are rare, and they are fixed VERY quickly. Neither of those points (rarity, and timely fixes) can be said of M$ And I wouldn’t class Twitter as “mission critical”… an awful lot of people use M$ software in mission critical situations (although I can’t for the life of me, understand why).

    To sum up, Twitter has been with us for 10 years now, and it is still growing. Personally, I think it’ll be with us for a good while yet. :-)

    Kind regards,
    (apologies for the novel-sized comment)

    • Ben Lang
      June 28, 2010 (12:15 pm)


      Very excited to read your comment, looks like a great ‘post’.

      1. People are using it, just 10% of the tweeters provide 90% of all of the content on Twitter which is the main problem.

      2. Yes I know those companies make money with Twitter, but Twitter its self has to make money in order to survive, which they’ve only recently figured out how to do.

      3. Novelty periods occur for everything, its the continuation after them that matters.

      4. Great point about email, well let me ask you how much spam is there on Facebook? Google Buzz?

      5. You make a good point, I was just comparing social networks, and since Facebook and Twitter have been copying each others features lately it seemed to me that they’re competitors.

      6. Some people like them, some people don’t its about how you view Twitter. If you’re into simplicity, Twitter is great, if you’re into features, using other programs might be a pain for you.

      7. I didnt join Twitter at first, but I’m fairly certain that for the first 5 or 6 years it was not popular.

      8. Ok it might be fun, but its a pain, and its there because there is so much spam on Twitter.

      9. You may understand it very well, but I could tell you that so many adults I know from my community and even kids from school have no idea what the point is… Easy for us to say what its purpose is, but for those who aren’t social media addictts etc. it makes no sense.

      10. Microsoft also has a lot of security issues and so do many softwares and sites. I’m not saying its critical, just saying that security issues are out there for Twitter and could become worse…

      Really enjoyed your points. You weren’t the first though, BeBizzy wrote a post in the same style as you on his blog http://ow.ly/23jyI :)

      Thanks so much for taking your time to share what you think. I learned a lot from you.

      • Steve Youngs
        June 28, 2010 (8:29 pm)

        Hi Ben!

        Thanks very much for your reply.

        1. People are using it, just 10% of the tweeters provide 90% of all of the content on Twitter which is the main problem.

        No, that’s not a problem. That is normal. In practically every area of life or industry, it is the minority of people who provide the majority of the work and results. A salesman that closes one sale for every 10 people he talks to is a MASSIVELY successful salesman.

        Think about it in terms of Internet Marketing (which I think you may be more familiar with), a 10% conversion ratio of visitors to sales is completely unheard of. Most IM’ers look for 0.01% conversion. The way you make those tiny percentages work for you is by throwing incredibly HIGH numbers at them. :-)

        According to BeBizzy’s article, that 10% are providing 50 million tweets per day! Pretty sweet if you ask me. :-)

        2. Yes I know those companies make money with Twitter, but Twitter its self has to make money in order to survive, which they’ve only recently figured out how to do.

        To find out how Twitter is covering their costs, and/or turning a profit, you would need to talk to their accountants. Somehow I don’t think they’d be all that willing. I do not know how they make money (or even if they need to), but I would be very surprised if the recent Twitter-controlled sponsored tweeting is their only income stream.

        well let me ask you how much spam is there on Facebook? Google Buzz?

        Do Farmville/Mafia Wars requests count? 😛 The majority of my time on Facebook is spent ignoring stupid requests. I’ve blocked quite a lot of people on Google Buzz because of spam or spam-like Buzzes. On Google Buzz I always look at a person’s Buzz stream before following them now.

        So, to answer your question, both Facebook and Google Buzz carry spam. The more popular and widespread a thing is, the more spam it will have. If you are seeing more spam on Twitter than on FB or GB it is because Twitter is more popular (or you use it more, or there are more people involved in your usage).

        7. I didnt join Twitter at first, but I’m fairly certain that for the first 5 or 6 years it was not popular.

        I think you might be confusing popularity with knowledge or awareness. `I’ve never heard of it… can’t be popular’ sort of mentality. It may not have been that, you’re an intelligent young man, so probably not. But does it really matter how long a thing isn’t popular, providing that they can get through that stage and become popular?

        8. Ok it might be fun, but its a pain, and its there because there is so much spam on Twitter. (fail whale)

        Absolutely not! It is because of the massive loads on the Twitter servers. And as you yourself stated, only 24% of it is spam. More than 3/4 of the traffic is legit and not spam.

        Does the spam have an impact? Yes, of course it does. But that impact is only marginal to say the least. I’m not saying that the spam levels on Twitter are acceptable (zero is acceptable), but it is nowhere near the problem that you are suggesting it is.

        9. You may understand it very well, but I could tell you that so many adults I know from my community and even kids from school have no idea what the point is…

        Most of the people actively using Twitter do not know or understand the point of it. The beauty of it is that they don’t need to. Quite often, if you get a benefit or some enjoyment or satisfaction from a thing, its purpose is not all that important, or easily understood.

        The best example I can think of is religion. Most humans on the planet have religious beliefs of some sort. And they follow (to varying degrees) their religion’s teachings and doctrines. However, only a handful of people will ever fully understand religion’s true purpose. And it doesn’t matter. The people who do not know get just as much (sometimes even more) from their religion as those that do understand.

        Twitter works because people enjoy using it, not because they know why they are using it or what it is supposed to be for. By the way, even the guys who started Twitter have been asked this question, and their answer.. We don’t know. (paraphrased).

        just saying that security issues are out there for Twitter and could become worse

        It only becomes a problem if these issues are not addressed in a timely fashion. To date, Twitter has shown that it takes security very seriously and tackles any issues head on very quickly. I’m happy with how they handle security.

        I’ve skipped a couple of your points in your reply, Ben, if there was something that you wanted me to address that I haven’t, please let me know.

        Kind regards,

        • Ben Lang
          June 29, 2010 (7:38 am)

          Wow, thanks for the novel times two reply.

          I read over everything but I guess its not worth responding to each comment, because otherwise this debate would never end.

          Really enjoyed hearing what you have to think.



  • Asha Ray
    June 29, 2010 (10:15 pm)

    maybe my thoughts are just not interesting. maybe it’s hard for me to shorten things up to 140 characters. whatever, i find twitter is very hard for me. and it’s so noisy! i find it nicer and more peaceful here on buzz. people share stuffs, ideas and make discussions. in twitter you hardly find any discussion at all. people just talk by themselves (anyway, that’s truly what birds do right? even without none understand it, they just chirp). very good post indeed! 😉

    • Ben Lang
      June 30, 2010 (1:30 am)

      I also find it very hard, and noisy. Buzz definitely is a lot easier to navigate.

      Thanks so much for sharing what you think.

  • Gloson
    June 30, 2010 (4:44 am)

    Wow, wow… Amazing post Ben! Those are very good and interesting reasons.

    Now I’m gonna go through the points and share my opinions :-) .

    1. Lack of Use – Neutral

    Well, I am quite neutral with this point.

    Twitter can be hard to understand, and therefore, many people quit using it after they joined.

    Maybe it’s because twitter didn’t explain themselves properly?

    But, once you understand it, you will stick to Twitter and use it like you can’t live without it 😛 .

    See this article:

    An In-Depth Look at the 5% of Most Active Users

    It says 5% of the most active tweeps are responsible for 75% of the activity? Whoa.

    2. Poor Revenues – Disagree

    Well, twitter is not originally made to make money (they are just trying out some new money-making stuff), so it won’t fail when it doesn’t make money.

    3. Loss of Interest – Neutral

    Well, again, this is caused by not understanding twitter when you joined it (See point #1^).

    4. Bot and Spam – Neutral

    The reason twitter attracts much spam is because it’s easy to spam.

    Unlike facebook, you can’t see each other’s updates unless you are friends.

    And on twitter, many people follow their followers automatically, which makes it easy for spammers.

    So, I don’t recommend following everybody automatically to gain followers.

    Instead, take time to follow influential, friendly, informative, and interesting people. Also, take time to build quality relationships with them and also with your followers.

    Then you’ll have a quality followership (and followingship), and your followers would put you into special lists to try to read every of your tweets.

    5. Competition – Disagree

    Facebook is very different from twitter and twitter has, I think, eliminated most of its competitors (friendfeed, jaiku, plurk).

    6. 3rd Parties – Disagree

    Isn’t this the same with WordPress plugins, Google Labs, and iPhone apps?

    7. The Next Fad – Neutral

    Perhaps it might happen, when twitter does something really bad. But it might not happen too because many active twitter users are loyal users and tweet a lot.

    8. Fail Whale – Neutral

    Haha… every site has its downtimes.

    But recently there are many Fail Whales and it can be annoying. I think it would be fixed soon.

    And when it does get fixed, many people are gonna miss the Fail Whale. LOL.

    Though, if it doesn’t get fixed for more than a few months, then it will really annoy me.

    Though, I like to see it cause it’s cute 😀 .

    9. Lack of Purpose – Neutral

    Twitter is about sharing, connecting, but not only that. It can be used for many, many purposes.

    But, I think the reason twitter is hard to understand is because it doesn’t know how to explain itself. LOL.

    10. Security Issues – Neutral

    Every site has its own security issues, like Google and Facebook.

    Also, don’t you remember the day twitter was hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army? LOL.

    But if twitter does something really bad, like Facebook, many users would quit.


    By the way, I really enjoyed this post Ben. It’s really interesting!

    • Ben Lang
      June 30, 2010 (10:55 am)

      Thanks! Great, you’re the third one with a novel sized comment 😉

      1. Yes I think its because of the lack of clarity, a lot of people don’t understand what Twitter is. Oh and thanks for that article, I was looking for that, couldn’t find the exact statistics.

      2. But for a for profit company to survive it must make money.

      3. Seems that users are leaving, if you look at a graph the spike was the last two years in terms of the number of users, but now its wearing out.

      4. Yes if you use Twitter correctly its fine, but if not your direct messages and home feed is 100% pure spam.

      5. Depends how you look at it, I’d rather just use one social network period. That one would be Facebook not Twitter.

      6. Very true, good point Gloson.

      7. Yes but as you said its only about 5% that are actually loyal.

      8. I think Twitter has the most down times, and the Fail Whale may be cute, but its a pain :)

      9. Very true, even Twitter doesn’t understand what Twitter is lol.

      10. Agreed, well just have to see.

      Thanks for the great comment, you brought some great insight into this discussion Gloson. :)

  • Anwar
    June 30, 2010 (3:11 pm)

    The truth is, when it comes to marketing, Twitter sucks. It takes hundreds of re-tweets to get a few hits to a website. So you might be right about this. I hardly use this service.

    • Ben Lang
      July 1, 2010 (9:02 am)

      Well depends, if you have a loyal following people will actually click. If not, its worthless, which in most cases it is…

  • used tires
    July 5, 2010 (4:19 am)

    I have personally believed for a while that twitter is bound to fail. It’s a nice concept, but to me, besides the reasons you listed here, I feel like twitter is too much “one sided”, and for the most part, the majority of people that use twitter who receive the most benefit out of it are marketers. The system is just way too basic for its own good, I hope facebook crushes twitter in the long run.

    Till then,


    • Ben Lang
      July 5, 2010 (8:20 am)

      You bring up a great point, I wonder what percentage of Twitter is filled purely with marketing, probably huge though. I think you’re 100% right.

  • Mark Atkinson
    July 7, 2010 (5:15 am)

    I’m still learning about the ins and outs of Twitter, but I am determined to use it to it’s full potential.

    I believe it’s a powerful marketing tool and helps you create and sell your brand to anybody who’s interested.

    Personally, I don’t have the time nor inclination to subscribe and keep tabs on everybody’s RSS feeds, email newsletters, Facebook profiles etc. When I find somebody’s blog/website that I really like, I will ONLY follow them on Twitter. For example, I was led to this post by Twitter, had I missed it on Twitter I might never have seen it otherwise.

    This allows me to centralize all the information coming in, whereas I would be wasting time keeping tabs on other networks as well.

    That being said, I only follow people who really interest me and provide me with the information I need. In my opinion, “compulsive following” as I call it, is not the cool way to do things.

    I want followers that are interested in me, not ones that follow me because I followed them.

    Great controversial post though. It’s obviously sparked a great debate and that’s what good bloggers should aim to do. :)

    • Ben Lang
      July 7, 2010 (5:32 am)

      Sounds like you’re using Twitter correctly. One of the problems I have is that I follow over 8,000 people, meaning that my home and inbox are pure spam. It’s difficult for me to see what you’re seeing except by using lists, which is kind of a pain.

      It really depends on how you use Twitter and I think that most people don’t use it correctly which is the problem…

      Glad you enjoyed this discussion :)

  • Forex Robots
    July 30, 2010 (2:47 am)

    I have read many articles that Twitter is down again and again. This is a common event that is frustrating to use Twitter. If you do not blame the World Cup when everyone shows a lack of preparation for the twitter page.

    • Ben Lang
      July 30, 2010 (2:56 am)

      So have I, the World Cup put it down so many times.

  • 15 Ways to Get More Comments on Your Blog | Blog Engage
    October 31, 2010 (11:58 am)

    […] example, Ben Lang’s post on “10 Reasons Why Twitter is Bound to Fail” has received over 70 comments; and they’re not just simple comments, but quality […]

  • Claire from Newbury Park Limo
    July 20, 2011 (6:22 pm)

    I think most of the people who use Twitter has something to promote:celebrities, marketers, and businesses. I really would like to use Twitter consistently, but only a couple of my friends use Twitter. So I find it hard to stick around.

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