The mighty Twitter has fallen. Who shall rise to take its place?

Over the past several weeks, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of  people have become quite irritated over the service (or lack thereof) by their technology dealer: Twitter. Like a powerful drug, Twitter has made the masses go cold turkey almost immediately for the slow and reduced service that we were all once accustomed to. I’m not going to pounce on the Twitter folks because they are doing a pretty decent job in letting us know what’s going on. They have started a blog, replied on Twitter (whenever it’s available) and are supposedly making progress. But with no timeline on completion, how can we move forward and live our lives normally?

During the rapid downfall of Twitter, a couple of new Twitter-like devices have risen up to try and take the challenge (and market share): Pownce, Brightkite, FriendFeed and Plurk. Each of these has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, but what I’ve figured separates Twitter from these 3 contenders is the simplicity and where the audience is. I’ve spent the past few months growing my “follower” list and now as a result of the inefficiencies of scale by Twitter, I’m now forced to adapt to some other application like FriendFeed?  Twitter is mainly a SMS social network, but with Pownce and FriendFeed, these are aggregators – more FriendFeed than Pownce. However, I go back to my earlier point…if Twitter were to go away tomorrow, which of the three (Pownce, FriendFeed or Plurk) would you go with and have the greatest audience?

I’d like to think that Plurk has some potential, but yet again, it is still in its infancy and has some bugs. Will the masses find it a similar companion as Twitter has been? Probably, but not for a few more months. In the meantime, people have grown accustomed to FriendFeed and this seems to be the SMS social network’s crown prince.

With all this talk about data portability, I believe that if these supposed “successors” to Twitter want to rise up to take its place, then they’ll need to find a way to import Twitter contacts to help bolster their new followers. Twitter is facing some serious challenges and even with its new round of funding, these issues are hurting its market share and could ultimately result in a mass exodus to other applications, thus proliferating the era of SMS social marketing.