In the past couple of weeks I’ve started to see evidence that Twitter might be entering its Trough of Disillusionment. The evidence you ask?
- A quick search on Google Trends for the phrase “Twitter Sucks” shows a HUGE spike starting in February of this year (10X more searches in March than in February).
- The recent explosion of a ‘vrial video’ about a fictional new nano-blogging site called Flutter had almost half a million views in the last week.
- Last week, Twitter users were hit with the first ‘Twitter Spam Hack Attack.‘
- People are quickly realizing that the more people you follow the less value you get out of the people you follow. I call this the Diminishing Tweet Value Theorem, which states that the value of your own twitter stream is inversely proportional to the number of people you follow.
- The mainstream media has grasped a firm hold on pushing their @ user names (a sure sign it’s nearing the top of its escalation phase).
- Rumors are rampant about a potential Google acquisition, and the debate about how exactly to monetize Twitter continues to escalate (another sure sign it’s heading towards the monetization phase of the Tippingpoint Labs New Media Life Cycle).
I’ll admit that the evidence above is fairly circumstantial, but I also believe that the most sophisticated Twitter users are slowly migrating to a better, more effective and much more immersive platform for their micro-blogging fix: Tumblr.com.
According to their homepage, TumbleLogs are:
“…the easiest way to express yourself. Tumblr makes it effortless to share text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be. Customize everything. Tweak everything from colors to your theme’s HTML markup. Even use your own domain name.”
I believe that Tumblr is far more powerful and far more interesting and exciting than Twitter. The platform allows you to generate and share content from multiple services (including Vimeo or YouTube).
It enables you to create text posts, video posts, audio posts (even from your mobile phone), photo posts, share links, even transcribe or post chats or dialogue you’ve overheard. Tumblr is truly a valuable, branded, content generation platform.
In addition, all the Twitter follower and retweet (Tumblr calls it ReBlogging) functionality is inherant in the platform. Customizing the look and feel of your TumbleLog is encouraged, and its flexibility enables content creators to really develop a unique experience for their audience.
Tumblr inherantly helps users create a valuable, nicely formatted and designed, feature-rich experience. That’s exactly what makes a good content consumption experience.
Tumblr’s Life Cycle Analysis
Tumblr is nearing the end of its Adoption phase, in Tippingpoint’s Life Cycle Analysis. This means that very soon (I’d guess within the next three months) we’ll see big brands successfully using Tumblr to communicate and participate with the Tumblr community.
Tumblr skews young. According to Quantcast, 12% of their users are between 12 and 17 years old; another 38% are between the ages of 18 and 34. Compared to Twitter, this is a much younger audience. I believe that millions of young adults and teenagers completely skipped Twitter and went straight to Tumblr. In fact, I’ve had conversations with teenagers about Twitter, and their response goes something like this: “Twitter is stupid. Tumblr is awesome.” Teens get it quickly. They understand the value of sharing information online; however, what Twitter lacks is the ability to add context to the content you want to share. Tumblr allows you to do this.
If Twitter is a babbling four year old, going on and on about nothing important, Tumblr is a smart young adult digesting content, commenting on it and contextualizing it for their audience. That’s far more valuable.
Tumblr’s platform is very different. It’s more complex than Twitter. It’s more interesting than Twitter, and (I’ll admit) it takes more time to grasp and customize than Twitter, but that’s what actually makes it great.
My message here is simple. You should be spending AS MUCH time developing and distributing relevant content on Tumblr as you are on Twitter. Don’t just add your Twitter stream to your Tumblr account. (You can do this; however, it’s a rookie mistake.) You should be creating a new type of content for this new content creation and distribution channel. I’m not suggesting that you need to leave Twitter immediately (or ever, for that matter), but you must start experimenting with Tumblr as a platform.
Tumblr will generate some huge ‘celebrity’ hits in the next six months. If you’re not there, you won’t be the ‘next big thing.’
My Questions to You
What do you think of Tumblr? Are you done with Twitter? What’s your Tumblr URL? I want to check it out.
UPDATE! A lot has happened to Twitter, Tumblr, and the social web since we wrote this. Read what 2011 has brought to this battle between micro content distributors.