The ink is hardly dry on yesterday’s post about Twitter’s inability to roll out their new UI faster when I wake up to the news that Twitter has been totally hacked. Not just hacked a little bit. Not just hacked if you do some certain thing. Hacked as in, “Don’t even bring up the site or you may get hacked too.” Don’t believe me, it’s all over the web.
By now, Twitter says they’ve fixed the problem, but it’s not exactly confidence inspring. I hear from comments and emails on my other post that the new UI is full of problems too.
Here is a company that has raised over $100M in capital, yet they seemingly have a hard time with the basics. For a long time they couldn’t scale, and now this problem. Do you guys have QA? Do you have a real software development process? Is your architecture solid? Tell me you are not doomed.
At the same time, they’ve pretty well killed off their ecosystem by taking over the key successsful add-on niches as their own.
Meanwhile, Google has designs on Social Media. Here is the thing Google. These Twitter guys have stumbled and stumbled. Their service is popular, but its technology is straightforward. We can argue about whether it even is Social Media (it isn’t), but that’s not really important. Put your Facebook plans on hold for a time. Build a Twitter clone. Buzz is sort of that, and maybe could serve, but it needs to be dead on and not vague about its intent to supplant Twitter (no pussyfooting around). Weave it into G-Mail and your other apps. Make it better (but don’t do anything weird, focus on polish). Make it stable. Make it a reasonable alternative to Twitter which many have said needs to be an Open Platform anyway. And BTW, make it open and be Switzerland. Put it on Android. Create and nurture a vibrant ecosystem.
Since everyone uses Twitter more to broadcast news than to actually interact, this is a franchise you can build. It actually has minimal network effects (not saying it has none) to lock in its users. You just need to make sure the widgets to broadcast on your service are awesome. In fact, I would set them up to broadcast on Twitter too, just so people can change widgets once and not have to worry about it to have all the bases covered. In addition, if you can make it easy to build followers, or especially to keep your old Twitter followers, you are set.
This is not a particularly high risk or hard to execute plan for Google. Put all the wood behind that arrow. You will succeed. And you can build on that success.
Web brands, get your house in order. Phil Wainewright’s take on this sort of thing.