Are you on Twitter? And if not, why aren’t you? Do you not know what it is? Because if you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before you do. I’m not just saying this. Remember a year or two back, when someone said to you: “Hey, are you on Facebook?”…
Yeah… this is one of those things.
Twitter has recently exploded all over the world; and even in our own humble South Africa, we have noticed it’s effects.
Twitter basically took what made social-networking so popular, streamlined it, dumbed it down a bit and put it out there. For first time users, utilizing Twitter is troublesome, if not confusing, because of it’s inherant simplicity. Users are so used to MySpace and Facebook and the plethora of other social-networking applications out there that they have grown accustomed to going through hours upon hours of profile customization, inviting friends and writing/commenting on people’s walls.
When presented with Twitter, the average social-junky is met with thoughts such as: this is boring. There’s not much TO this and why is my profile picture so small?
I know this, because these were my exact thoughts when first introduced to the concept.
But after using Twitter for a few months, I’m beginning to see the bigger picture as far as generating traffic, social-sharing, hype-building and I’d go as far as to say viral marketing goes.
These objectives (if you could call them that), in my opinion, are what the essence of Twitter is all about.
I’ve heard many the educated-professional can (verb) Twitter as a useless utility that will die out in a year or less, and while the latter part of that statement may be true (we have yet to see) the former is most certainly mislead. Twitter may be a portal for porn-spammers to obtain some keen clientel, it may be a simple utility to keep fans in touch with their favorite Twittering celebrities, it may be a lot of things, but itah definitely is NOT “useless”.
People tend to look at the smaller picture when they think of Twitter. They think: meh. This is Facebook minus everything except the statuses.
But upon further inspection, one will notice a few major differences between Twitter and other social-networking mediums. For one, Twitter doesn’t categorize by zone. That is to say, when you join Twitter, yeah, you have the option to input your timezone, but that’s about it…
Right from the start, you have access to the ENTIRE Twitter database. Bang. Oprah, Ashton, Britney, Paris, you name it, Twitter’s got it, even if it’s not the real person (but a lot of them are).
Another feature (or should I say ‘skillfully introduced lack of feature’) is the ability to follow just about ANYONE you want with just a click. There is no waiting period between ‘invites’. You click follow, and you are immediately in touch with chosen user’s updates. Search. Follow. Connect. It really is that easy.
Now combine these above two features and you will easily understand just WHY Twitter is making the world so much smaller. The rate at which we are connecting with each other has just drastically been sped up. I’m not referring only to people following and perhaps, if they’re lucky, conversing with their favourite celebrity; there is so much more to do with it. Weather broadcasts, advertising, promo’s, marketing, networking, dating (yeah, that even) and more. The opportunities are literally endless.
Or… I could be wrong and Twitter could be surpassed by a newer, better idea in a year or so, and go on to die a long painful death akin to the likes of MySpace a few years back.
We’ll have to wait and see.