Posts Tagged ‘evolution of twitter’

Tweet To Self

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

A tweet by @Creattica indirectly got me thinking deeply about the purpose of Twitter today.


When I first joined Twitter, almost a year ago, I didn’t really understand the power of it.  Actually the 5 stages of Twitter acceptance below pretty much sums it up for me, and probably a number of you too?


I signed up, played around with it reluctantly for a few days and (not realising it’s potential) abandoned it for months.  Only after getting my hands dirty with it in October 2008 and diving head first into the community did I finally realise what it was all about. Kinda.

In the beginning I found it difficult to determine it’s purpose.  Was this not simply one nanometre away from stalking?  Should we all be recording our every move [like ijustine below]?


Or should we be commenting on the fascinating situations life throws at us with strange tweets like @Takete?


I used it to get more involved in the design community, looking at social media and the evolution of Internet culture for my Masters, while also building up a reputation for myself and my blog.  I managed to interact with the high rollers of the Internet, including Guy Kawasaki, Pete Cashmore, Tim O’Reilly and ProBlogger, and interview them for this blog, all through Twitter.

Over the past few months I have made hundreds of relationships that would not have been possible before Twitter, some of which generated work for me, but the more important ones generated friendships.

Tweet To Self

So back to @Creattica‘s tweet, which just re-triggered my first thoughts about Twitter.


I had first looked at Twitter as a way of talking to yourself but allowing others to see what was going on in your head.  In theory, for me, it was a public ‘Note to self’, which could be interacted with by potentially thousands of people.  By making it public, a little more pressure is put upon yourself to react to your thought, rather than push it aside two seconds later.


While Twitter has evolved drastically, and for some people it is used exclusively to chat or promote their brand, I still try to occasionally use it for thoughts and musings.  Wont it be an incredibly fascinating experience to look back upon our tweet record in years to come?  Imagine our children and grandchildren being able to look at these blogs and tweets from us, seeing how we interacted and thought in 2009.

Perhaps to further emphasise which tweets are important to ourselves we should incorporate the ‘Tweet To Self‘ action?  Why not try putting ‘TTS‘ in front of those messages that you really want to implant in your head and have a slightly higher importance than @ replies?


Whether people use it as a chat room, a method of blog promotion, as a way of venting their anger, to pose philosophical conundrums or for market research, it’s all great.  The evolution of this community has been a fascinating one to watch and it’s clear that 2009 will be a very interesting year for the micro blogging sensation.

Follow Me

Don’t forget to follow me @Paddydonnelly to read my TTS. :)

Has Britney Killed Twitter?

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

A global sigh was heard throughout the devoted twitter community when Britney Spears had her first tweet.   Has this signified the end of Twitter as we know it?  Has a community founded on the concept of sharing intelligent thoughts and musings, posing questions, having large scale arguments, revealing the latest gadget before the company (and more often, its faults) now been swept aside by ‘Just left the Madonna concert. It was really fun’?

Twitter has grown exponentially over the last few months, this clearly indicated by the billionth tweet being published on the 12th of November.  The micro-blogging application was constructed with a 140 character limit on posts, forcing people to capture an idea or thought more concisely and strip away any useless waffle. It has been largely embraced by the web geek community including many Internet celebrities and has formed a thriving community and generated a onslaught of spinoffs, mashups and applications.

With over 9,000 followers, at time of writing, Britney has instantly caught up with many of the already well-established members of the community.  Are we going to witness a surge in the number of celebrities within the next few months, following in Britney’s shoes, as Twitter goes mainstream?  Stephen Fry has developed a large following through using Twitter over the past few months, however there is a distinct difference between his approach and Britney’s.  Stephen publishes all his thoughts, actions and questions himself, showing you the ‘real’ Stephen, or as close a version as he chooses to reveal.  ‘Team Britney’ contributes to her account more often than she does, which surely goes against the very concept of Twitter and social media?

Authenticity is key, as Twitter asks you the simple question, ‘What are you doing?’ not ‘What is your employer doing?’  It was designed as a way of revealing your inner thoughts and perhaps Britney would receive more credibility for her decision to join Twitter if it was clear that it was her decision and not just another PR campaign.

There is no argument that fascination with celebrities has grown and grown over the past few years, surpassing obsession.  It is certain that this ‘celebrity bubble’ will eventually pop, but exactly when is unclear.  Will it end with celebrities employing camera crews to follow them 24/7 in order to broadcast a live feed to the world in an effort to satisfy the hunger of Heat magazine readers?

Marketing guru, Seth Godin, is not a fan of micro-blogging and is actively against Twitter.  One of his arguments for this decision is that people will misunderstand what you say if you are too limited.  He states:

If you’ve got 140 characters to make your point, the odds are you are going to be misunderstood (a lot). There may be nothing wrong with that, but you should be prepared for it to happen. And most of the time, people won’t take the time to ask. They’ll just assume you’re an ignorant jerk and move on.

Twitter is a very ‘human’ tool and, as with viral marketing campaigns, many companies will find it difficult to hide the fact that they are strictly participating for business reasons.  As we see more and more brands like Dell and GM become active Twitter users, there is a mixed view from consumers.  While it is admirable that these companies are embracing social media tools like Twitter and Facebook, we have to wonder if they are communicating with their audience?  By choosing to follow the updates of a high profile company you have to ask yourself, who are you really following?  Is it the CEO, the marketing manager or an intern?  With many applications such as Twitter, details like this cannot be known and this is a critical factor that companies need to address if they are to participate successfully in this arena.

Barack Obama used the application, along with a range of social media tools, in his successful campaign for presidency.  Currently he is the most followed Twitter user with over 138,000 followers and with a record number of young people turning out to vote, it is clear that by using these tools, Obama was able to communicate with the younger generation with unparalleled success.  While his updates were limited to the latest location of speeches and new inspirational video uploads, and it was almost certain he did use the application himself, it does give some hope for celebrities that they can use Twitter effectively if they are intelligent about it.

By looking at Everett Rogers Diffusion model, we can see that the early majority are beginning to adopt Twitter and the application is nearing a tipping point, indicating that the life of a twitterer is about to change.  With an estimated 3.5 Million Twitter users, the group is relatively small compared to Facebook’s 120 Million or MySpace’s 106 Million, and currently conversations and interactions are easier to manage within this smaller community.  Currently people follow less than 100 people on average, making keeping up to date with tweets manageable, however if 100 Million people signed up to Twitter then it would be impossible to follow your timeline effectively.  Twitter users would have to become more ruthless in choosing who they follow, forcing them to alienate people, not because their updates are considered less appealing, but because the sheer effort to interact with them all would take up too much time.

Eventually this merciless and necessary ‘culling’ of followers would change the Twitter society from its current largely peaceful, friendly, interactive community into a cutthroat competitive bloodbath, forcing people to compete for attention.  Currently the community works effectively with a smaller population and determined users can easily interact with Internet celebrities one on one, as communication with 140 characters is simple and quick.  The arrival of Britney and her team has more than likely spelled the end for Twitter as we know it, bringing the tipping point ever closer, and therefore changing the Twitter community indefinitely.

I think the tweet below says it all.