Twitter is seeking a new round of venture funding, $15 to $20 million (CNET), and according to TechCrunch, the company is being valued at between $60 and $150 million.
"One reason for all the attention: growth rates suggest that it is now just a matter of when, not if, Twitter usage will go mainstream," writes Mike Arrington. A statement he says is backed up by the latest comScore figures that show total page views doubling from 10 to 20 million between February and March of this year -- and that's without factoring in all of the additional usage via third party clients and Web services that utilize Twitter's public API.
But is Twitter really about to go mainstream?
There's no doubt that Twitter reached a tipping point among the tech-savvy, and is now as prominent as Facebook with that particular demographic. But whereas Facebook is used by nearly all of my non-techie friends, not one uses Twitter, and most haven't even heard of it. Of course, this isn't scientific, and nor was Kara Swisher's informal poll, which came to the same conclusion, but it does pour a certain amount of cold water on the notion that Twitter is about to tip mainstream.
And let's not forget that Facebook has a great deal of Twitter-like functionality already baked in. In a climate of social networking fatigue, I'd be hard pressed to persuade mainstream Facebook users to adopt Twitter for status updates too.
On the other hand, while Twitter may never become mainstream on the scale that Facebook has (although we're yet to see out the fad vs longevity issue), the service does has some very concrete reasons why it will continue to grow. Not least is the phenomenal support from third-party developers, brilliantly executed by the company, and second to that is the media attention Twitter is getting precisely because it has become a tool for bloggers, journalists and marketeers. It's hard to place a price on an ecosystem as well cultivated as Twitter's.