Twitter: Can’t Beat the Tweet

June 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Jared Goldman, Science & Tech

Even if you don’t use Twitter, you’ve probably been inundated with news about the social networking site.  That’s because the sharp minds behind Twitter managed to create a perfect media storm.  Not only does their product have an insanely catchy name — isn’t it fun to say “Twitter” and “tweet”? — but it also provides mainstream media outlets with another way to reach an audience whose technology I.Q. is growing every day (Pebbles and Pundits also has a Twitter account). As a result, talking heads have been giving Twitter endless free publicity, promoting their own Twitter accounts and cracking each other up with Twitter-related banter (in a much-publicized gaffe on “The Today Show,” Stephen Colbert rendered Meredith Vieira speechless when he attempted to coin the past-tense variation of “tweet”).

Jared Goldman

Jared Goldman

Personally, I was skeptical when I first heard about Twitter. After the ascent of Facebook, MySpace, and many other social networking sites, why did the world need another one?  What’s more, Twitter only allows messages of up to 140 characters in length.  How much significance could be conveyed in a sentence or two?  Twitter struck me as another nail in the coffin of the average American’s attention span.

A recent Marist poll suggests that, despite all the publicity, many people may share my skepticism — only 6% of Americans have personal Twitter accounts.  Moreover, a study by Nielsen found that a majority of Twitter users stop tweeting a month after signing up.  Is it possible that Twitter is a passing fad?

That’s doubtful.  The aforementioned Nielsen study caused such a fervor among Twitter users that an addendum was posted acknowledging their complaints (though not retracting the original findings).  Comscore, a company that measures consumers’ surfing habits, awarded Twitter the fastest-growing property title for the month of March; in April, Twitter surpassed The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in unique visits.  While Twitter may not be able to maintain its astronomical growth rate — a 1382% boost in unique visitors from February 2008 to February 2009, according to Nielsen — it seems to have become a staple in the lives of many people who use it to trade information and stay in touch.

You may be wondering, “What about money?  Even though Twitter is popular, that doesn’t mean it’s generating any revenue — which means it may not be sustainable.”  That’s a good point, but Twitter doesn’t appear to be stressing over finances.  In November, its owners rebuffed Facebook after the social networking rival offered to take over Twitter for stock worth $500 million.  And, on the web site, Twitter claims that it’s more interested in improving its service than boosting its bottom line.  Meanwhile, speculation abounds over potential revenue streams with one possibility being the sale of commercial accounts to businesses.  One can imagine the benefit a company might draw if it can find out, via Twitter, who’s tweeting about their product, who else is receiving those tweets, and what, specifically, those people need in terms of customer care or innovation.  What’s more, some of that information can be found on a real-time basis, which could help inform business decisions that need to be made sooner rather than later.  Recently, the ability of Twitter’s search engine to deliver data in real time earned praise from no less than an online eminence — the co-founder of Google.

In other words, thanks to shrewd marketing and cutting-edge technology, Twitter appears to have built a sturdy nest in the tree of online media.  For Twitter die-hards, that’s great news.  For the rest of us, it means enduring a lot more Twitter hype — or joining the growing ranks of tweeters.

Related Stories:

6/12: 6 % of Americans Have Twitter Accounts

6/12: Keeping In Touch Online

Sources/Additional Information:

How Will Twitter Make Money?

Google ‘Falling Behind Twitter’

Twitter’s Tweet Smell of Success

Twitter Quitters Post Roadblock to Long-Term Growth

ComScore Media Metrix Ranks Top 50 U.S. Web Properties for March 2009

When Twitter Met Facebook: The Acquisition Deal That Fail-Whaled

Twitter to Offer Business Accounts, at a Price

Comments

4 Responses to “Twitter: Can’t Beat the Tweet”

  1. MLM Articles on September 21st, 2009 12:10 pm

    They can make money any time they want. They just need to charge the power users and the app builders.

  2. Tressie Trenholme on April 27th, 2010 12:03 pm

    I love to use Twitter whenever i want to know the latest buzz about my friends. I also use Twitter to know the latest buzz from famous persons `

  3. John From Industrial Marketing Advisers on August 31st, 2010 4:19 pm

    I work with many businesses on marketing on the internet. I find that Twitter has very little use for businesses unless you are in entertainment. However, Facebook and Linked-In are both popular and useful for businesses. I think the same holds true for individuals. Twitter is too limiting. Facebook fits the bill better for sharing life’s experiences. Whether Twitter survives, I don’t know, but social media in some form will always exist.

  4. TemplateMonster Discount on April 27th, 2011 10:31 am

    The power of the mighty Tweet! Wow, I would have never believed that 145 characters of text could result in such results. When you use your social media tools together with clever marketing, website – one can exceed all expectations.

    Great article, thank you for sharing,
    Snerdey

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!