Adventures into the Madness

Twitter has Tipped


Ok, it’s not just me.  A month ago I posted a comment about Facebook being taken over by the unwashed masses and glibly commented that Twitter was the place to be for the “cool” early adopters who don’t like their coolness messed up by a bunch of whiny housewives and fathers-in-law.  (yeah, my Dad joined Facebook a couple weeks ago…)

Cue “marketing event of massive proportions” and suddenly Twitter has “tipped” into the mainstream consciousness.  My poor husband.  When a website hits the front page of the KC Star, the coolness gets sucked out of it like a prom queen at a vampire convention.  Just when he’d figured out how to market his new technical book on Twitter, he’ll have to start explaining to all the housewives what “SEO” means.  Again.

My prediction is that the Twitter frenzy is a flash.  It’s a tool that a lot of people just won’t get.  A lot will, but unlike Facebook, it’s true purpose is disturbingly nebulous.  Facebook was founded from the start with “friend” type relationships and social rules in mind.  The tools and applications one finds themselves spending way too much time playing with are all oriented around ‘getting to know you when I already know you’.  The accepted practices do not include marketing and advertising – nor even work-related shop talk for the most part – among one’s friends.

Twitter has grown to become a strange mix of connections to people I know only casually and those I don’t know at all.  The Ashton Kutcher/CNN contest has only reinforced the idea that twitter is for making connections to people you don’t actually know, and probably never will.   But what’s the point of that?  I follow an actor or two I like, and have enjoyed seeing them tweet about projects they’re working on.  I’ll look for those shows to appear when they air.  I followed my husband on his camping trip and it was quite a relief to see his “I’m off the river” tweet each afternoon.  (He’s still alive!)

There has been a whole method developed by marketers on Twitter that drive followers to products and media for profit.  (see aforementioned technical book)  This seems like a valid “point” for those who use it this way but it doesn’t make me that interested in setting myself up as a potential customer.  I’m still trying to ‘get it’.  I’m still annoyed I didn’t get the user name ‘tepring’.  A poignant lesson for the slower-to-adopt users out there.

Meanwhile, hubby is resignedly tweeting and looking for the next “cool” social networking tool.  I think I’ll make him give me a list so I can go register my name early.

(Title refers to Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point:  How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference , kindle ed.)

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