Home » Enterprise 2.0 » Twitter~ A cost effective model

Twitter~ A cost effective model

This blog will look at  the concept “Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability“, the final pattern of eight patterns as defined by Tim O’Reilly. In the World Wide Web business/organizations are now looking to  adopt a scalable, cost-effective strategy encompassing business models, development models, and technology to deliver products to market faster and cheaper without sacrificing future growth.

Once the idea of web services became au courant, large companies jumped into the fray with a complex web services stack designed to create highly reliable programming environments for distributed applications. –Tim O’Reilly

Basically, what O’Reilly is saying is that what was once normal to start out big has now turned to starting small with a big picture at the end of the model. Once was the idea of large complex web services, that has now been turned on its head. Using a business model and starting and starting out small with a small budget but gradually increase costs as revenue has been increased. Benefits that this brings include:

  1. Cost effectiveness
  2. Responsiveness
  3. Doing more with less
  4. Easy start-up
  5. Fail fast
  6. Scale easy


Right, so a great application that demonstrates lightweight modelling and cost effective scalabilty is the popular micro-blogging platform “Twitter“. Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”. Twitter has become a go to for business and is a great application to use whilst starting up, it is free, easy to start up and has a huge amount of users which will bring responsiveness. From starting with twitter business can then more on to a much larger/complex web services as revenue increases.

Here are best practices that Twitter has adopted in relation to practices that  Professor Jason Watson’s from QUT   pointed out during “Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability” lecture.

(1) Scale with demand

When twitter started, it had 400,000 tweets posted per quarter in 2007, this grew to 100 million tweets posted per quarter in 2008. In February 2010, Twitter users were sending 50 million tweets per day. (More statistics here) We can see that twitter started out small in terms of people using and tweeting, however as usage increased they had to increase their scale base on the increase demand of users.

(2) Syndicate business models

Using twitter can also be a great way to increase your business model/strategies. Social media are not generally link to each other. Users could use say their Facebook/google+ accounts and promote their twitter account. This allows enterprises to build all or part of their business on top of various social media components.

(3) Outsource whenever practical and possible

Twitter Inc. is based in San Francisco, with additional servers and offices in New York City, Boston, and San Antonio.

(4) Provide outsource infrastructure, function, and expertise

Generally big companies such as twitter have no need to outsource their infrastructure, function and expertise. These would be done in their own offices.

(5) Market virally

User initiated positive word-of-mouth can lead to dramatic market growth, when new applications/social media are released it normally takes sometime for people to follow and use it. Using viral marketing is a great way, twitter blasts could be used or even facebook group pages. Twitter  has been ranked the fastest highest social media in the world in 2013. This could not have been achieved without the use of various viral marketing strategies.
(6) Design for scale
Scalability does not happen by accident, Twitter no doubt started small in terms of users. There is no doubt that  from an early stage strategic and tactical choices were made to enable scaling as twitters growth increased. Twitter was designed to give the users control of the content they tweet, baring the 140 characters restriction. Users have control over their own profiles and content which means that operating and support costs are shouldn’t be that high.
In conclusion, Twitter is a great application that offers a great model and cost effective Scalability. However, one thing to be mindful is that with such a big user population Twitter users/businesses will face spam, how Twitter reacts to this will determine if Twitter continues to be popular in the near future.

– Watson, J. 2010 – INB(N)347 Week 10 – Lecture slides

13 thoughts on “Twitter~ A cost effective model

  1. Hi Andy,

    Twitter has indeed grown from being a new social media to one that is now used by millions of people. Before Twitter used to have problems when major events took place and people were tweeting at the same time. The problems seams to be lessen down from before but as you mentioned, spam is still a big issue. I am sure that the spam contributes to one reason that Twitter has gone through so many changes and API changes too. This had made searching quite difficult but I hope the improvement would make Twitter much better than before.


    • Hi Sukhsahns,

      Yes i totally agree, sometimes i am reluctant to search around twitter because of the spam that comes up when looking for certain information. Hopefully Twitter finds a way around this in the near future.


  2. Hello,

    I always wonder what is the business model of Twitter. How does it make money? There is no advertisement on Twitter, so do you know something about this subject?

    Great post!


  3. Nice blog Alang …. who would believe that Twitter started with 400,000 tweets then end up now with 50 million tweets per day … such a number like that make people always motivated to create a smart web services that grows its users scale by time .

  4. Hi Andy

    The idea behind Twitter is pretty simple to implement. Twitter did a good job secure their users base and continue to grow to be one of the most use social medias right now. Also when you talk about spam, it will always happen anywhere when you allow simplicity use. When anyone can use and it also easy to use, that make spam to be easy too. I’m really not sure what I could use to predict the future of Twitter but I strongly believe Twitter will not easily fade away if there is still need for Twitter.

    • Hi Prapat,

      Thanks for reading, you are right spam is always around particularly when you allow simplicity of use as you mentioned, anyone can create accounts and post anything, hopefully Twitter will find a way to counter some spam issues in the future.


  5. Hi Andy,

    Twitter shows a great improvement since the start. May web applications today have integrated twitter and facebook as their main icon for advertisements (Sharing info). I am just wondering, what if twitter were to outsource their databases to others. It will reduce head counts and reduce a huge risk of responsibility when disaster strikes. Cheers!

    • Hi Jerfen,

      Thanks for reading, if twitter do outsource their databases it would reduce a head responsibility and if disaster stikes they would have a backup of some sort.


  6. Hello Andy!
    I think Twitter a great example of a cost effective model. So many businesses and companies use Twitter to create their online identity. Twitter is an easy web 2.0 application to use and reaches a large audience as well. However, there are any instances where there have been companies that have slipped up on social media. (http://au.businessinsider.com/13-epic-twitter-fails-by-big-brands-2012-2?op=1#qantas-had-its-twitter-competition-backfire-because-of-terrible-timing-1) Social media can definitely be a double edged sword, it depends how the situation is handled afterwards – Fail fast, scale fast.
    Great post!
    check out mine if you have time

    • Hhi Marayka,

      Thanks for reading, i agree 100% that social media can be a double edge sword, it comes with positive where it could promote and drive awareness or it could place your company/product in jeopardy.As you mentioned fail fast but scare fast.


  7. Hey Andy

    Twitter has matured very well, as it has worked hard on fixing reliability issues on its website. Also, Twitter’s Facebook integration feature has been very useful in improving its appeal.

    Best Wishes,

    Bidah Alkhaldi

    Check out my blog @http://abidalalkhaldi.wordpress.com/

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