Venture capitalist Bill Gross' UberMedia, which bought up several Twitter application developers, is planning to build a competitor to the short-messaging service. It got me thinking: Who competes with Twitter now? Sure, they, like every media company, compete with *everyone* for eyeballs, but they don't really have any direct competitors left in the social networking around short messages space. Here's CNN's Mark Milian's scoop:

UberMedia, which owns several popular applications that interface with Twitter, is outlining plans to build a social network that could compete with that popular microblogging platform, said three people who were briefed on the plans. The service would seek to attract users by addressing common complaints about Twitter, such as its restriction on the length of a message and how it can be confusing to newcomers, according to these sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the plans.

Years ago, Plurk, and Friendfeed seemed like they might legitimately beat Twitter when the latter service was struggling with technical problems. But obviously that didn't happen. Now, Twitter's in an interesting position. A few (like myself) use the service compulsively; the many use it occasionally or never. It's hard to get into and can feel like walking into a party where everyone knows each other.

I wonder if Twitter's medium-term future is as a very valuable niche platform for those of us glued to the Internet by trade or avocation, while a more mass market-friendly service takes over for the general audience.