Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Twitter Has Gone Mainstream

Yesterday, April 17, 2009 will mark the day twitter went mainstream. Oprah dedicated an entire segment of her show to twitter. As part of the show she proclaimed Ashton Kutcher the king of twitter for beating CNN for the right to be the first member of twitter with 1,000,000 followers.

Folks, the levy has broken and twitter is no longer a cool, niche, and quaint community of bleeding edge participants. Get ready to see your mom following you on twitter. Scary. I know.

In full disclosure, I’m not a fan of Oprah. However, her segment on twitter was brilliant. These two videos do a great job of helping anyone and everyone understand the birth of twitter, why it exists, and how to use it.

The key quotes from the videos are twitter “democratizes media” and “in some ways this is kind of a commentary on the state of media – because I believe that we’re at a place now with social media where one person’s voice can be as powerful as an entire news network, an entire media network.”  Pretty powerful.  I expect those quotes to be over used in presentations from agencies and marketers to their clients.

So What Does This Mean

  1. We’re going to see a shift from push to pull. No longer is it going to be the agencies and bleeding edge trying to get clients and brand managers to embrace twitter. They’re going to start asking about it. So you better be on twitter. If you aren’t; you’re not going to have any credibility.
  2. The noise to signal ratio is going to skyrocket. The number of new people joining twitter will be enormous. As these new people try to “figure out” twitter, existing long time users will see the quality of tweets decrease.
  3. We’re going to need metrics…real metrics. As I’ve stated hundreds of times before if you just evaluate a tweeter based on the number of followers, Britney Spears with a whopping 119 updates would be #3. Those 119 updates have come over the last 7 months. That amounts to roughly 4 tweets a week. Qualitatively, the tweets are useless making the numbers even more polarizing.
  4. Now, more than ever, we need a method for evaluating the quality of a tweeter. I’ve long pushed for some type of thumbs up/thumbs down approach that’s similar to Pandora. If millions of new people to twitter simply follow the people with the most followers (it makes sense to take that approach) they’re going to be disappointed with twitter and never see the full value. We all lose if that happens.
  5. Long time twitter veterans and power users (aka us geeks) will start flocking to other sites like Tumblr and FriendFeed. Why? Because you lose the cool factor when you’re at the same bar as everyone else.  This is a critical point because it’s not about twitter or Facebook or Tumblr.  It’s about ALL of these things.  You don’t need a twitter strategy or a Facebook campaign – you NEED a social media strategy.

The next few months are going to be interesting.  One thing is certain – if you are in the PR, marketing, interactive, web, or technology space you need to be on twitter, if only to understand what the hell everyone is talking about.  I suggest you join now, it takes less than 2 minutes.