Having been a user of Twitter since July 2009, I have seen it grown from being a service that only some of the ‘tech nerds’ use, to something that the majority of people either use or have at least heard of.
Whilst there have been some improvements with the service, some of the syncs out there have been criticising some of Twitters latest decisions and as such have moved over to a similar service, App.net
There are several reasons why people are not enjoying the use of Twitter as much as they have done in the past.
The biggest is perhaps limiting the continuing development of apps (other than Twitters official app) that use the service. Without going into technical details on how or why they are doing this, this means that each app developed is only allowed a certain number of users, which mean that prices of such apps are considerably higher. For instance the app which I use on my Mac, Tweetbot is (currently) priced at £13.99. I fully understand Twitter reasons for pricing this app so high, because the costs of development and future support can only be recovered from a fixed user base if it is priced accordingly.
Secondly there is a concern over the amount of spam/advertising that Twitter has and will continue to have. I fully understand that Twitter is a free service, it does have to make money somehow and advertising does come forward as the obvious solution, and if truth be told, I wouldn’t mind the odd targeted advertisement. What is a problem however is the number of spam messages and ‘parody’ accounts that solve no purpose apart from trying to get people to enter their username and password to take over their account. This is annoying and off putting.
Finally is the ‘survivability’ of Twitter. There has been some talk that because its free, and because so many people are moving over to App.net, even if it were to get the things above sorted, it would all be in vain and Twitter will one day cease to exist. Whilst I think that it is a long way off becoming as popular as Facebook (although the number of people who are using Twitter intend of Facebook is increasing), that day will probably eventually come, and that Twitter will be here for many more years.
So why am I not jumping over to App.net? Well for a start the number of users is still relatively low compared to that on Twitter. Secondly although points two and three mentioned above are addressed by users having to pay either monthly or yearly for a service (or opt to a free account where the number of people who you follow is limited) I do see this as being a bar. Twitter is free, and available to everyone, and as such everyone from business to TV programmes are using it to connect to clients and viewers. App.net is not, so those businesses, people and TV programmes that do use Twitter as a method of connecting people would have to use two services, both Twitter and App.net and remember to update them both. I really don’t see this happening.
Therefore for the time being I think I am going to stick with Twitter for the time being.