Cafe Witness

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Loyalty vs. Community

I'm a tech slut.

I was just trying to post a link to Twitter that needed to be shortened. In the past, I would have used TinyURL, but since I discovered Tweetburner, I've been reluctant to go back. Tweetburner lets me see how many times a shortened URL link has been clicked, so it's endlessly more useful than the services that *just* shorten links.

But Tweetburner was down.

So I considered crawling back to TinyURL, until I remembered a service called, that does the same thing as Tweetburner AND lets me actually see WHERE my clicks are coming from.


So now I've opened an account on, and I'll probably never go back to Tweetburner.

Why? Because is better and its URL is shorter.

Thus, I'm a tech slut. I don't stick with the services that work for me; I migrate to the services that are working RIGHT NOW, and I'll stay with them until they break. Then I'll site-hop again.

And yet...

Twitter itself used to break on an hourly basis, and the bulk of its users stuck with it -- me included. This, despite the fact that there were numerous BETTER services out there (Pownce, Jaiku, Plurk, etc.).

Why did we all stay with Twitter when it was unreliable and nearly useless, and yet I'm able to jump ship from Tweetburner without looking back EVEN THOUGH IT'S ONLY GONE DOWN ONCE?

Because Tweetburner isn't a community, it's a service. It's a tool I use privately to improve my public communications.

Twitter *is* a community. The service itself may break all the time (thankfully, it no longer does), but that alone isn't enough to force the bulk of its users to migrate away.

Which makes me wonder...

What's the breaking point at which a community will abandon a service that unites it?

Photo by reallyboring.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,