It’s impressive that Twitter is still here and still doing great — an extremely rare success. Twitter has permeated society on a level that only a small handful of tech companies ever have. And it certainly has had several opportunities to screw up.
Here are seven things that might have killed Twitter, but haven’t. (Yet.)
Irrelevance. This is what kills most companies — they never get traction in the first place. Imagine if Twitter never moved past “just setting up my twttr”-type tweets. (My first was even worse: “giving Twitter a chance”.) Even the early stereotype lunch-summary tweets were something. Now Twitter is all they talk about on TV. And when’s the last time you left the house without seeing a hashtag printed on something? There is, of course, a good chance that Twitter will fade, à la MySpace, Friendster, AIM, etc. But today, it’s still on the way up.
Competition. Fage was the first Greek yogurt brand to catch on in the U.S., but Chobani zoomed past and now dominates the market. Twitter was one of many simple message-sharing services, and for years, new competitors were often labeled as “Twitter killers” — from Jaiku and Plurk to Friendfeed and Google Wave. Facebook has copied many Twitter features over the years, and Instagram has arguably captured some of Twitter’s potential. But Twitter still stands solid.
Infrastructure. The “fail whale” was cute but not funny. Twitter’s flakiness could have cost it dearly.
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