Last week, in response to an article I wrote that highlighted how Twitter was closing in on 400 employees (they’re currently at 399), one of my followers (@amancalledprak) made this wry observation:

He’s right: Twitter is no longer a small company. It’s gone well behind being a simple ‘start-up’. This isn’t the 24/7 responsibility of four men, two servers and their dog. It’s a big frickin’ deal. And as such, we can’t keep making excuses for them when they’re slow to deal with major issues and bugs, or react to events in a manner that is both inconsistent and bewildering.

What works in Twitter’s favour is there is no alternative to Twitter. If you want to tweet, you need Twitter. There’s nowhere comparable that allows YOU to get your message out to the world. Facebook isn’t the same thing at all. But it won’t always be this way. Sure, others have tried and failed to take on Biz Stone et al, but you can guarantee that there are dozens – perhaps hundreds – of alternatives to the platform already warming nicely in an incubator somewhere.

99 per cent of these will fail miserably, but it all it takes is one. One legitimate alternative that starts out with a few cool features and then gets a whole lot better, and Twitter is suddenly in trouble. It can and does happen all the time on (and off) the internet. Nobody is immune, nothing is forever and few institutions are (realistically) too big to fail. You simply cannot afford to be complacent – no matter how important you are right now.