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Twitter drops support for IM

Online-communication utility is stable but missing key feature of instant-messaging interaction, downgraded from Things That are Broken list to our Things We Want to Build list.

Tech journalist Steve Gillmor noted that a recent Twitter status post says the company isn't bringing instant-message posting back anytime soon.

Before we all start with the "who cares," I've found myself liking Twitter more and more, as I'm distracted by other things and can't write long blog posts. IM was my preferred way to use Twitter, which bums me out personally, but it also limits the ability for the service to become the "communication utility" the founders want it to be:

To summarize, we want to bring IM back. We intend to bring IM back. But we've officially moved it from our Things That are Broken list to our Things We Want to Build list.

Based on our analysis, the cost-to-benefit for IM for the most users is not as high as some other things--so it will be a while before we tackle it. Like any budget (in this case, the budget of our limited engineering time), tough calls need to be made--especially in these times. And while we don't expect everyone to agree with this decision, we at least want to be straightforward with you.

While I don't know the statistics surrounding how users interacted with the system (through technologies such as SMS texting, IM, and the Web), I have to think that IM would offer the biggest possibility of more adoption--let's say integrated with something like Adium, as well as a business model layering on top of existing services or selling ads (or buying your way out of ads) as a chance to make money.

Also consider the enterprise aspect; most enterprises allow some kind of IM usage, even if it's an internal-only client. Adoption possibilities in this space are also limited by the dropping of IM support. Or, maybe IM will get fixed for the enterprise, which will ostensibly pay for the service, but not for the casual user?

Getting adoption for a product is very difficult. Once you get users addicted, and they start to form a community, you want them to stay with you. The more ways you keep them involved, the more likely you are to make money somewhere down the line.

You can still find me at daveofdoom on Twitter.