There seems to be a little feeding frenzy going on regarding how much cash Twitter burns. After reading Paul Boulin’s original post, I was going to write up some thoughts. I see, now, that the conversation has progressed with Paul posting some details of the feedback he’s been getting. However, there is still something bugging me about the write up. It’s this bit:
Finally, the biggest problem of all is the network effect of Twitter’s popularity. As the number of people using a network goes up, the number of connections between them rises much, much faster. Most Twitter users now have several times more followers than they did a year ago. As a result, every update sent to all of a user's followers costs the company more to send to everyone who’s subscribed by phone.
It’s an exponential function: The more people use Twitter, the faster the number of messages grows.
Let’s imagine you have 4 people in a network. How many connections are there between these people? Each person can have at most 3 connections, so we can approximate the max size of the connections as 42. In general, the max number of links in a network of size N is approximated by N2.
The word ‘exponential’, like the word ‘literally’ seems to be losing its meaning. Backing its invocation with a link to Wikipedia doesn’t really help.
[If you are interested, the term ‘literally’ is used to remove the metaphorical or idiomatic meaning from a phrase. Perhaps the best comment of this is a search on Google, which appears to turn up more articles about the word’s misuse than anything else!]