Now raising intellectual capital

Twitter backlash foretold

August 11, 2009

Technology market research firm Gartner Inc has published the 2009 “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies,” its effort to chart out what’s hot or not at the cutting edge of hi-tech jargon. It’s just one of an annual phalanx of reports that handicap some 1,650 technologies or trends in 79 different categories for how likely the terms are to make it into mainstream corporate parlance.

Jackie Fenn, the report’s lead analyst and author of the 2008 book “Mastering the Hype Cycle,” delivers the main verdict:

Technologies at the Peak of Inflated Expectations during 2009 include cloud computing, e-books (such as from Amazon and Sony) and internet TV (for example, Hulu), while social software and microblogging sites (such as Twitter) have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among corporate users.

Click to enlargeGartner Hype Cycle 2009

What’s most interesting in the report, now in its 14th year, is what the corporate research firm says is a long way off from the mainstream.

It will take up to five years for many of today’s trendy technologies to become mainstream, including Web 2.0, cloud computing, Internet TV, virtual worlds, and a true corporate mouthful, service-oriented architecture (SOA).

Funny how long hype cycles take to pay out. Three years ago, in its 2006 Hype Cycle Report, Gartner predicted Web 2.0 would go mainstream within just two years.

Gartner Hype Cycle IndicatorsMore than five years out, which means nearly dead in terms of industry attention, are technologies such as the once hot radio-frequency ID (RFID) concept, along with mobile robots and human augmentation and some absurdly high concepts like context-delivery architectures.

The second chart, on the right, describes Gartner’s methodology. It’s all very imprecise, but a game worth playing.

Images: Gartner (August 2009)

Emerging Technology Hype Cycle archives
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009


I, and many of my contemporaries in the IT field, do not believe a word of what Gartner and other so-called “analysts” have to say about technology trends. They and their ilk have been pitching Web 2.0 and other technologies for years, and have missed the mark time after time. It amazes me that there’s a lucrative cottage industry in making these “predictions”…

If you owned a business, and wanted to bet on what technologies are going to succeed, you would be better off going to Vegas and betting on roulette…

Posted by Mike P | Report as abusive

I am not so sure that this backlash has not already started, it would seem that the ‘bad guys’ in all of there guises are filling it up already.

There is also the issue about Money – how does it make it?
Surely a defining moment is coming for it soon.

Richard Smith


I’m going to make an exception here and actually use the word Twitter in several possibly consecutive sentences like I could ever give a rat’s patoot about it. Or “Yahoo!” Or Myspace. These things don’t satisfy anyone in the long run. In human terms, they really don’t matter. In technology terms, they’re old hat before they even get to critical mass.

It’s not about technology; rather, it’s vaguely about the glitz or apparent veneer of technology in its packaged incarnation at any given point in time. And it’s only secondarily about what people use the so-called technology for; rather, it’s secondarily about what users expect to get out of the user experience, and primarily – as a business model – it’s about aggregation of as many users in a single community as that branded community can accommodate, with some sense of satisfaction not entirely lost in the process.

Or – lost, for who among the VC crowd behind a Twitter or Wotevuh actually cares whether their “technology” users are really happy, or just along for the saccharine bling-fix?

Unconventional wisdom, but true: You can only disappoint so many people so much of the time and still stay in business, P.T. Barnum notwithstanding.

Things like Twitter have to be disappointing – it’s got the word “twit” in it, innit? – no later than when the typically lost user who publicly admits to giving a damn about Twitter (and its aggregation of DIY users in general) not only feels twitted, but also realizes that everybody else will see them that way, too, in the fullness of time, as having totally wasted theirs. All Twitter (and myspace etc) users are giving up something in return for nothing they couldn’t get some other way, now, already. When they finally realize this, the cat’s out of the bag in search of the next dead fish.

Meanwhile users could just as easily be aggregating on their own… Technology already makes this possible. Smart organizers and interactive media experience designers know how to schedule content influx to offset just about any pundit curve. Twitter is scarcely the be-all and end-all of anything, because there’s absolutely nothing whatsoever at its branded core. And it can’t be the only game in town, or the town in question would have to be one whose culture is beset by vapidity.

Intelligent media designers (as opposed to crude aggregators) already know when it’s time to actually deliver a user experience beyond just having every Twit, Dick & Harry do it themselves, instead of grafting user content onto any old other corporation’s aggregation tailgate. That time is now. Always.

But breakthrough concepts seldom get support because the VC guys keep beating the same dead horse, chasing the same old ingenuity-, intelligence- and content-free dragon, hoping it’ll stick one of these days. Aggregation for the sake of aggregation is nothing but a big let-down in the end.

That’s about where Twitter gets off the bus. Its time has already come and gone. The twits just haven’t realized this. Yet.

Posted by The Bell | Report as abusive

Not sure this foretells a twitter demise. Trough of disillusionment leads to a path of enlightenment. Whether Twitter survives through the trough is the real question.

As far the credibility of this particular hype cycle – probably just as credibility or non-credible as any others.

Seems like the most credible are those that look backwards ;-)

Posted by toxicderivative | Report as abusive

Gartner sure has CSCO and IBM fooled regarding the adoption of these technologies. CSCO CEO John Chambers spoke a few weeks ago at their annual investor and industry conference and was overwhelmingly positive on these technologies.

“The future is here, its just not evenly distributed.” (T. Kelly)

Posted by Larry Lyon | Report as abusive

Andy Grove, who knows about such things, hit it on the mark some months ago when he said emphatically that social media, Twitter, etc., etc.,no matter how clever and relevant, were NOT the innovations that would move us forward the way that H-P, Intel, Oracle, Apple, Genentech, Cisco, Netscape, and Google did. No knock on technologies that are hyped. Just don’t expect to see many stand the test of time.


We should all now this is just another waste your brain and time scheme, build it and they will come and then figure how to keep them addicted and pay, and charge advertisers. Just look at who uses it the most, little girls begging for meaning in their life, who want to be loved, i think a pimp or pedifile will do best here, should be called tw_tter !

Why waste anymore time.

Posted by dmail | Report as abusive

Thanks Mike P, I was just wondering what you thought about Gartner. Tool.


I am still not understad,how this happens………………


Agree with Mike P. The only thing proven here is that these hype cycles are nothing but hype. It’s interesting reading, like any work of fiction, but no one in their right minds will base roadmaps or development plans based on this kind of research.

Posted by Sandra | Report as abusive

very good work where Beyond Trading research team agrees


Speech recognition has been on the Slope of Enlightenment for 14 years, with another 5-10 years until mainstream adoption! That’s some molasses technology


Twitter is simply bored people annoying other bored people. Anybody important enough to be worth getting a tweet from is too busy doing something important and worthwhile to bother sending out tweets. One doesn’t need a complicated study to determine that.

Posted by Russ Binder | Report as abusive

This open microblog :

Posted by jon | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see