Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

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.

25 Creative Twitter Creations

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

I can’t deny it anymore.  I have to admit it.  I am a Twitter addict. During a conversation with Takete, he described Twitter as ‘throwing a message in a bottle into the sea’, and that’s exactly what it is!  Maybe someone will come across your message, maybe they wont.  It doesn’t matter, that’s the beauty of it!

Well the Internet has been getting very creative with Twitter mashups, apps and sites popping up all over the place.  So here is a list of 25 of the best, most interesting, useful and unusual ones that I have found, all nicely collected for you.  How nice :D


My Tiny Jesus



Flickr my background











Is Twitter down?


Friend or Follow




Dear Robot

Oh My Science

Follow Cost

Post like a Pirate

Other links

Here are a few other resources and articles of interest regarding the wonderful world of Twitter.

As always, feel free to suggest any I may have missed out :)  Oh, and check me out on Twitter

Who knows who on Twitter?

Monday, November 17th, 2008

One thing I always thought was missing from Twitter is a ‘followers in common’ feature.  I think I have found a solution with Tweet Wheel, and I must say it could not be better visualized.  Check out my tweet wheel below, you can interact with it on the site, highlighting which friends know each other.

Also check out how annoying it would be to follow me on Twitter with Follow Cost.

Words that flutter

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Just stumbled upon this while browsing the old interwebs, and thought it was a good reminder to us all.  A bit reminiscent of the concept of Twitter I thought.  Maybe I’m obsessed though?

You’re no one if you’re not on twitter

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

If you haven’t heard this song by Ben Walker from I Hate Mornings then I’m afraid you are no one :p

A really inspiring song, which sums up Twitter and our journey with the internet beautifully.  Well maybe not ‘sums up’ as there are like 6 verses, but it does kick ass.  My favourite line in the whole song is the last: “And try to self-promote without being caught”

Very true.  Send Ben some love for his efforts @ihatemornings

The Lyrics

You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter
And if you aren’t there already you’ve missed it
If you haven’t been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged
You might as well not have existed

In the old days it was all about achievements
Collecting all your trophies in a shrine
Then everybody came across the internet
And suddenly you had to be online

A home page was all you really needed
To seem like a success but not a geek
As long as you updated semi-annually
And checked your email once or twice a week

You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter…

Technology was moving rather quickly
And the next thing you needed was a blog
With intimate and detailed press releases
And now and then a photo of your dog

More recently the students brought us Facebook
And everybody has a hundred friends
The parties in the photos look amazing
They’re not so great but everyone pretends

You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter…

Now you need to publish every movement
And every single thought to cross your mind
I’m told the Twitterverse is full of rubbish
But most of us are actually quite refined

We validate each other’s insecurities
And brag about the gadgets that we’ve bought
We laugh out loud at every hint of jolliness
And try to self-promote without being caught

You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter…