Twitter, the “What are you doing” less-than-texting concept, is gaining a lot of buzz, users and funding. Monetizing any social network has proved difficult, and Twitter’s simple approach makes it harder than usual to see how ads might work there, but it still raises a troubling question for networks. Is the real service of the future more signaling than bandwidth? Clearly you can’t be twittering video stuff to each other; and few people have the time for an activity that must occur regularly and also consumes a lot of capacity.
If casual social microblogging is the prototype of future services, then network bandwidth and bandwidth production could be in deep trouble. We believe that the telco side of the market needs to be thinking about how to make casual bit-intensive activities as attractive as short text messages and blogs, or face some unpleasant consequences.