What are you doing? That is a pretty simple question.
It is vague, but can be specific and encompasses all sorts of activities and goings on. This is the basis for one of the faster growing sites on the internet. It begs the question, when is an idea really too simple?
Twitter.com is a site that is based on telling others what you are doing at a particular moment. The site itself reads: "Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"
This may seem like one of the simplest site ideas you have ever heard of, but it taps into a person's need to socialize and be connected with others at times during the day. You can access the site from a blackberry, laptop or any other mobile device with internet, so it is excessively simple to update your status and check on your friends.
Ideas like this may seem simple, but the fact that they tap into human nature is important.
Another difference between Twitter and some other site such as Facebook or MySpace is the sheer simplicity of it all. The fact is, some people who did not grow up with the internet may be overwhelmed by the fact that they have to upload pictures, fill in about me sections, select friends, write messages, reply to wall posts and everything else.
With Twitter, it is simply a box that you fill out, and friends' boxes that you read. It is like a trimmed down social network. The simplicity is something that Twitter prides itself on, using the phrase "information overload" to describe some other nameless social networking sites.
The thought of being "hyper-connected" is also something that Twitter gives its users. In an evolving workplace, with phones that double as walkie talkies and the arrival of text messaging in full, it is important to stay connected with workers, customers, friends and family.
Twitter enables you to see where everyone is at without having to call a bunch of people or send out a mass text that may not receive a response. In this way, it is pretty revolutionary.
Now that I've said that, remember that this site is at its heart a simple text box that says what you are doing. Despite any apparent deeper meanings or purposes, it is one of the more simply applications on the internet. This can be a lesson to any small business that thinks an idea is too simple or too easy.
Remember that simple ideas are sometimes the best, and projects that are too complex never get off the ground. Look at the way social networks have grown and evolved over the years. Now, they are so prevalent that a niche operator such as Twitter can gain a massive following.