Twitter vs. UberMedia: It’s about time

April 20, 2011

This post was written by Mike Lizun, Senior Vice President

UberMedia, a developer of applications and Web-based services, including various Twitter clients, said it might be interested in developing a product to directly compete with Twitter, a product that would allow for, among other things, the ability to write more than 140 characters.

I wondered, is the 140-character restriction on Twitter a limitation, or an advantage?

With more than 200 million registered Twitter accounts, will it take more than an extra character or two (or 100!) to convince people to switch and try a new platform?

So, just as many of us on Twitter do all the time when we are researching a topic or seeking opinions, I asked by tweeting it: Is Twitter’s 140-character UI a limitation or an advantage?

This is just one of the things that’s so great about Twitter. Want to ask a question to someone or a group of people directly? You can, by pointing your tweet @ them.

Robert Scoble and Chris Brogan, two Twitter veterans and well-known technology and social media experts, answered within seconds. Another Twitter advantage — near immediate response time.

Robert Scoble: @MikeLizun @chrisbrogan @garyvee Twitter works well everywhere and on every device. Other services don’t. Advantage.

Chris Brogan: @scobleizer @mikelizun @garyvee – I think the 140 limitation is awesome. Brevity rules.

Yes, I agree Chris, brevity does rule! It is also a skill, a skill that is important in today’s short-form communications platforms (from texting to tweeting), as well as with limited time to communicate your message and overall short attention spans. Like they say, if you can’t say it in 140 characters …

There are several other services and platforms people can use to create longer posts, including blogs, Tumblr, and even services to create longer tweets. But the point here is what it has always been: to create short, brief, concise messages, and publish them to the world to either read, reply, or retweet. Easy to read, easy to broadcast, easy to digest, easy to use, easy to share.

I received a few more great replies to my question from friends and people I am not connected to. Another advantage of Twitter. You get responses from all over the world from people you don’t even know, opening up new lines of communication every day, new relationships, and new possibilities.

For instance:

@gadgetboy: @mikelizun 140 characters is an advantage. Forces people to be thoughtful and not go on and on.

@StJohnDeakins: @MikeLizun 140limit: the limit is arbitrary but defines twitter as a micro blog

@andybeal: @mikelizun based on its success, I would say it’s an advantage

@jhuppenthal: @MikeLizun a definite advantage. Forces you to construct concise thoughts. No rambling allowed. Long live 140 characters!

@Athryn: @RyanMeray @chrisbrogan @Scobleizer@MikeLizun @garyvee brevity is the soul of wit!

@reinholdlange: Exactly! RT @chrisbrogan: @scobleizer@mikelizun @garyvee – I think the 140 limitation is awesome. Brevity rules.

@RyanMeray: Seconding this. RT @chrisbrogan: @scobleizer @mikelizun @garyvee – I think the 140 limitation is awesome. Brevity rules.

@StevenJCrowley: @MikeLizun No. Brief is good.

@TrattoriaConshy: @mikelizun I may go on forever without the limit. Then people will stop listening 🙂

Do I think a strong competitor to Twitter will come along in the near future? To be honest, competitors to Twitter are already here: Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, blogging, blog commenting, texting, e-mail, the list goes on and on. The one thing they are all competing for? Your time.

It really comes down to where you are most comfortable, which service do you get the most out of, what you are trying to accomplish, and which one is the best use of your time. If you have a goal (and you should), can you meet that goal on Twitter or somewhere else? Are you looking to connect, broadcast, share, and learn?

You can do all of these things on Twitter, and Twitter is everywhere. It has a tremendous head start on any would-be competitors or platforms. In the end, they are all competing for your time. And right now, Facebook is winning that game.

What do you think? Is the next Twitter just around the corner? Are you ready for something new? Do we need something new?

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