6 little things on why I <3 twitter and why you should be a part of it
Twitter is where it’s at! Geeksville has flocked
Twitter is an absolute phenomenon, it’s redefining and shaping so many things, you only have to look at its growth in trend tools like google insights or Google trends to get an idea of its ever accelerating popularity.
UK search volume index
UK Twitter use 2008
It already has close to 20 million pages within the Google search results and is growing daily.
Site: command showing number of pages indexed in Google.com
Estimates of Twitter users fluctuate wildly. In April 2008 Techcrunch estimated their numbers at 1 million + today, it’s considerably higher. I attempted to find out in Google but drew a blank and the Twitter blog wasn’t much help either, so I tweeted and asked for help, guess what…
Michael isn’t spot on and a refinement of his query got me nearer to 4 million (4,040,000). If Google’s estimation is correct, then those are some pretty healthy take up numbers.
And then came James, he told me that twittercounter.com reports to be tracking 2.5 million accounts.
|@robwatts Twittercounter claims to be tracking around 2.5 mi llion accounts
Whatever way you cut it, 1 million 2.5 million, 4 million are all pretty big numbers with a huge potential to tip.
Celebs like Jonathan WRoss (@wossy) are also seeing the value and are threatening to take it mainstream by ‘outing’ it upon his return to the BBC on the 23rd of January.
Ross referencing @stephenfry on the 7th Jan 2008
Technorati shows that Twitter mentions in blog posts are also on the rise. The chart below shows a direct comparison between Digg (a popular geek web site) and twitter.
At the time of writing this post, in the last week alone Twitter had received mentions in no less than 240 citations on the bbc.co.uk website, 185 in the telegraph.co.uk site, 430 in the guardian.co.uk, and 135 in the dailymail.co.uk.
Newspapers it seems are almost running scared, at least those journalists who fail to understand it are, preferring to lambast and deride rather than see it for the revolutionary way of communicating that it is.
Twitter is great for brand engagement and management
The buzz generated across the social spectrum by twitter hasn’t gone unnoticed by savvy companies either. Twitter offers up an excellent opportunity for companies to connect directly with their consumers and stakeholders. Twitter has an excellent search feature (formerly summize.com) which means you can search for brand mentions and either put out any fires before they start or build a relationship with the customer or person discussing your product.
Twitter is an excellent means of using site authority too. Got a brand management problem? Get on twitter, register your brand and leverage twitters buzz to help push any negative news downwards.
A look at search for the well known search marketer Danny Sullivan shows the twitter authority factor in action.
Twitter gives access to networks
Need to find people interested in your niche? No problem, simply search for a related word in twitter search and find hundreds of people tweeting on your topic. A search for SEO as an example shows a list of people who have mentioned SEO in their tweets. With a little legwork and an examination of their followers and who it is they follow you can quickly find people with related interests. Whilst this isn’t a perfect model, it will for specific niche terms give you insight and access to people you might otherwise have had to have spent hours researching.
Twitter is a great social tool
Twitter is one of those communication tools that can be a fantastic asset in terms of building connections and enhancing relationships with those you already have. Be it with friends, colleagues, prospects or clients twitter offers you the opportunity to connect and share in ways that previously were simply not possible. You can plug your twitter stream into other social accounts, facebook and friendfeed. You can plug it in to your blog and simultaneously update your blog on the fly as you tweet. You can share pictures with friends, connect via text directly to a users twitter message account. It’s a two way process too. Most non UK twitter users can connect for free via text message in a two way interchange meaning that friends (people you’ve added) can send message to your phone via the twitter DM system.
But for me, the real power in twitter is in the opportunities it gives us all to connect to a wider range of people in a broader geographical space in a multitude of social and business environments. You can use twitter in ways that best suits you and you alone. Want to spam your network and followers? Boom, the choice is yours? Prefer to nurture and grow your network then boom, your choice again. Through being social and engaging with like minded people, you really can forge useful meaningful relationships, be they business or social.
Twitter is a great promotional tool
The final reason for the purposes of this post at least, is that Twitter is a great way of pushing a message out – It enables for direct access to the twitter streams of your followers, putting your message directly before them.
How you choose to construct your message and the relative success of your message depends on many factors of course. None of us want to do things for selfish or unhelpful people, it’s not a take take take phenomenon. Like many other social media platforms out there your success or failure to promote what it is you do, or who you are, or a service or message that you think people might benefit from is, at the end of the piece, dependent upon your ability to communicate and connect to others.
Be they power users with big networks and influence, or general users with smaller more tightly focused followings your message simply won’t fly if you don’t have presence and connectivity.
Twitter is a revolution
I make no bones about it. To me, twitter is amazing. It’s like web 3 offering up endless possibilities to break strangleholds and reshape the communications and search mould.
It’s invigorated the whole tech space and has generated excitement and buzz across the spectrum. Iphone apps like tweetie, twitterfon, twitterific, twinkle all enable for constant interaction be you walking or sitting on a bus or train. if you have a bit of 3g then you can continue building and sharing or just plain having fun with it all.
Don’t get me wrong not everyone ‘gets it’ some look at it and think WTF? Like a colleague remarked the other day on my status update around sticking a chicken in the oven to feed the kids, it was hard for him to understand where the value in that lay. Heck in lots of ways he’s right too, a bit like my drunken tweets repleat with pictures and my various trials and tribulations, but yet for many this is the whole attraction of twitter. Twitter enables for access to all manner of whatever it is we choose to share – its a part of the human condition to want to know, explore, laugh and cry. maybe in todays busy busy time starved world, tools like twitter allow us to use these pauses within our lives to say something random, to put it out there, to micro blog, to micro interact even.
I can’t recall the last time I personally got so zealous and bought in to a product that is, by and large a glorified bulletin board wih pictures.
I’m reminded of a discussion with @davefreeman the other day on the walk to Sainsburys to pick up some lunch, we talked about times of old the MSN Chatrooms whereby everyone there was randomly talking to people they knew nothing about screaming “ASL” or some other less charitable form of ape cry. The history is that MSN on the back of public concerns around children and paedophilles generated by tabloids hungry for headlines on the advice of legal counsel pouring tales of grief and woe, elected to shut them down. I’m not saying that twitter is in any way a replacement; it isn’t thats clear. But if we take the enagement that msn chatrooms had and broaden the reason out a little, then we can safely draw a conclusion that people like to connect and communicate. Twitter ramps that up a little and connects the offline worlld with the on. That’s powerful.
Like this post? Follow me on twitter I’m @robwatts.