Twitter? Here is a video articulating in a funny way that Twitter has not only jumped the shark, but jumped the Fail Whale as well.
I would pose a counter argument to the Twitter fail whale, but first one has to understand what twitter is and what it does.
Twitter is the technical expression of the physical concept of glance. Glance is how humans relate at the most superficial level. We glance to see the emotional, physical and engaged state of those physically around us.
An interesting socio-biological hypothesis highlighted in The third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond author of Guns Germs and Steel, is that the very size of the whites of the eye or sclera evolved functionally so that we could monitor each others directed glance. Consider the change in your behavior when you can't see where people are looking? When you wish to engender trust you take off your sunglasses, unless of course you are in LA or going through a self conscious hipster phase.
Glance is our first level of social interaction, our outermost degree of connectedness and intimacy.
Social gaze allows us to monitor and feel connected with others. Being in a bar isn't about drinking, it is about capturing a furtive glance or flirt that may escalate into something else. Glance is about feeling engaged, accepted and connected at the most elementary level.
Twitter allows that. Twitter is currently the easiest tool for sending or receiving social glance publicly. The desire to be aware of others or to make others aware of us is innate. Twitter or any medium which facilitates public/private glance will be popular, one can argue the oldest and shortest twit is the emoticon, the digital facial glance proxy.
Logo's and brands are physical glance tools that allow us to signal at a glance our values or those values we purport to telegraph. Whether it be a sports team, individual athlete, style, wealth, power, sense of humour, ascribed social position etc. We first and foremost communicate physically using our clothes, logos etc. combined with an awareness of giving and receiving glance among shared symbols. Branding is the use of money to cultivate shared social values for a set of glanceable(sic) objects or relatable (sic) experiences. Consider how Disney does this at physical park level, shared memory via narrative and finally logo/ icon level.
Twitter facilitates Social Glance creating a slightly closer social space. It is as useful or as banal as those with whom you choose to exchange glances.
Glance is innate, intimate and superficial at the same time. The desire to glance or be glanced is not going away, it will manifest itself in different ways technically. Blogs, Twitter, Mood messages etc. are all digital manifestations of glance, expect to see more of them.
A tough to get a hold of book on how and why we react to various media is The Media equation. Don't let the unusual cover put you off, it is a fascinating distillation of social science research into how we react to media of all types physical and digital. The book is worthy of consideration by anyone involved in media, interaction or design.