In Valid Logic

Endlessly expanding technology

Twitter: A Successful Failure?

Twitter is probably one of Web 2.0's most successful failures. Despite doing just about everything wrong, they have managed to hold onto their popularity and market share. It is rather surprising how despite more consistent downtime than uptime, continually turning off features to rewrite them time and time again, and quite frankly, horrid handling of their issues.

The way they handle turning off features has got to be among the worst. First, they have a "Read the Twitter Status blog for updates about the service" banner on your page, but it is always there so no one is going to be too inclined to check it regularly. They're always having some sort of issue. But how do they handle turning off the Replies tab and pagination?

twitter fail

Ohh no, that doesn't show up when you hover over it, no, that shows up when you click on it. When they first pulled that trick on the pagination, I had clicked to go to the next page, switched to another tab, came back a minute later, and was like "what the heck?" Did it again, same thing. Finally on the third try, I noticed something popped up when I clicked it, but disappeared when I moved off the button. In terms of user-friendliness, that sure has to get an F.

I read on Twitter's blog last month that Twitter doesn't have any public relations people. Seriously, go out today and hire one, Twitter! Sure, people like DHH tout startups shouldn't hire PR staff, however Twitter is way beyond that stage. Twitter is more known for their issues than anything else. Twitter's downtime laughable. They're the butt of their own joke. First, fix the shit! That is wishful thinking, but seriously, how many times do you need to rewrite a feature on the site to get it right? When something breaks, they should ensure it is fixed the right way. Second, hire some PR firm familiar with startups and work repairing that bad rep. But the only way to repair it is to first stop perpetuating it.

And yet somehow they managed to raise $15 million in Series C funding just last month. They sure as hell must have an awesome presentation to VCs, since given everything they do wrong and their lack of any way to produce revenue so far, I wouldn't give them a penny. From my point of view, Twitter just looks like a sinking ship, with everyone just kind of hanging around enjoying the free ride.

In general though, ripping on Twitter is like beating a dead horse.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

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