Two things fill the Twitterverse right now: discussions of how badly Twitter is performing and worries about how large it’s getting in such a short amount of time.
I’m sure the folks at Twitter are ecstatic about a 95% growth rate in just one month (users went from 9.8 million to 19.1 million in just one month, according to TechCrunch and comScore). Most of those users are outside of the U.S., it appears. Those numbers, by the way, are highly conservative. They only count hits to Twitter’s website: no mobile phone apps, desktop clients, etc.
Users, on the other hand, are finding out just how constricted Twitter’s ‘verse is becoming. Crashing servers, dropped messages, and extremely slow service is the rule of the day now. All because while Twitter is growing at an exponential rate, those million Ashton Kutcher followers and millions of new soccer moms following Oprah are seriously weighing down the system. Erick Shonfeld at Tech Crunch points out that at this growth rate, twitter should cross the 50 million visitor mark by summer.
So two fundamental questions about Twitter remain to be answered: when will the service begin adding new tech to keep up with unprecedented demand like this and how is the service going to make money, anyway?
So far, Twitter has not announced any plans to increase the site’s technology base to accommodate all of the new users. To their credit, it was over-built to start with and has managed to do well without a lot of scrambling to install new upgrades.
On the other hand, Twitter still has not announced any kind of business model or game plan to monetize the service. Despite tens of millions of users, Twitter is still running entirely on startup funds and venture capital. Eventually, that has to change.
So we spin through the Twitverse with nothing to anchor us to ensure Twitter’s future. At least it’s a fun, wild ride!