Twitter is the best-known microblogging service and, by all accounts, the most unreliable. Yet it has a dedicated core of followers who seem bent on sticking with it, no matter what else comes along.
And much else is coming along. As I have discussed in earlier posts, microblogging is a sociopsychological phenomenon, with significance far beyond the vagaries of one particular service. So it’s not surprising, given all the Twoubles (sorry!), that competition for the space should be rapidly evolving.
Plurk got a lot of exposure recently, and it’s growing fast. I posted a prediction on The Industry Standard that Plurk’s growth would not be as rapid as Twitter’s, but that’s not to say it won’t draw significant market share from Twitter. Other microblogs are quickly emerging, another one being the cleverly named Identica with its convenient URL, indenti.ca.
European Twitterer jansegers has compiled a comprehensive list of microblogs, each with its own differentiators. The most comprehensive compilation, at thws.cn lists 260 microblog services, representing at least 20 countries.
Will any of these Davids slay the Twitter Goliath? Maybe, maybe not. What is for sure: we are seeing the microblogging space in the process of fragmenting.
Is microblogging following the same evolutionary pathway as social networking? Social networking reached critical mass with MySpace, then Facebook, and then exploded with the development of white label apps such as Ning.
It’s only a matter of time before the same happens with microblogging. (But Twitterthoughts will be around to document the exciting developments!)