Why Twitter is changing the world.

21 Oct

Some considered Twitter a fad earlier this year. Today, it is a force to be reckoned with.

Twitter’s estimate worth is $1 billion. In February 2008, Twitter was hovering around 475,000 users. eMarketer did research earlier this year and estimated there would be 18 million users by the end of 2009. They were way off! By the end of August 2009, there were 27 million users. And there are no signs it is slowing down any time soon. With Google and Bing adding Tweets to the search results, it means Twitter is here to stay.

How will Twitter deal with the mass number of tweets and maintain Twitter so it’s accessible? At any given time so many people are tweeting, it’s common to see this image when you are trying to tweet.

Twitter is over capacity

Twitter is over capacity

And as of today, October 20, 2009, Twitter surpassed 5 billion tweets.

So what are people tweeting about? Someone are talking about themselves. This group of “Meformers” makes up roughly 80% of Twitter users according to a study done by Rutgers University. Meformers generally post updates their everyday lives, feelings, and thoughts. The remaining 20% of users are known as “Informers” and they like sharing information and usually include links to their sources.

The Rutgers research determined 9 different types of tweets:

  1. information sharing (i.e. 5 WordPress plug-ins to try out + URL)
  2. self promotion (i.e. Check out Arnold DC’s latest work +URL)
  3. opinions and complaints (i.e. I love Amtrak!!) Best person to follow on Twitter for this is @shitmydadsays
  4. statements and random thoughts (i.e. Ever wonder why dogs like cat food so much?)
  5. me now (i.e. Enjoying a margarita after a long day)
  6. question to followers (i.e. When is the economy going to turn around?)
  7. presence maintenance (i.e. Good Morning everyone. Miss me?)
  8. self-referential anecdotes (i.e. “My kid poured spaghetti sauce all over me. Twice!”)
  9. anecdotes about others (i.e. “Can’t believe @username woke up early to jog. It was 40 degrees!”)

So why are so many people joining Twitter?

Personally, I think when Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) battled CNN to become the first one on Twitter to have 1 million followers, it got people wondering what Twitter was all about. The battle was all over the news. Ultimately, Ashton smoked CNN. After the challenge, you can see a huge surge in the number of people joining.

Ashton’s stunt isn’t the only thing that has made people join. Others have joined because of the impact Twitter is starting to have on our lives. For example:

  1. Twitter helped people understand what was happening in Tehran and Iran after they had their recent election. Twitter became the way how Iranians communicated with the rest of the world.
  2. Twitter is creating news. It’s the pulse of what’s on people’s minds. And it’s often told later on the evening news. Every second, the trending topics show you what the most popular topics are.
  3. It’s one of the first places people and companies break news.
  4. Shaq and other players were tweeting from the bench–until the NBA banned tweeting from the bench.
  5. Share experiences in real-time with the world. Tweet while you’re at a concert or out shopping. Give minute-by-minute play. When President Obama came to Manassas, Virginia the night before the election, he was supposed to speak at Nissan Pavilion. But he was late. He tweeted the whole way there (i.e. at Dulles airport, stuck in traffic on I-66). I remember the newscasters relying on his tweets to know his whereabouts.
  6. Hate waiting on hold? Many companies are using their Twitter accounts for customer service. Speak with a person and get answers or directed to someone who will help. Home Depot and Geek Squad are two examples.
  7. See things you would never have seen before. Astronaut Mike Massimino (@Astro_Mike) actually tweeted pics from space on the shuttle. Lance Armstrong tweeted pics from the hospital when his baby was born earlier this year.
  8. Twitter is helping brands connect with consumers on a whole new level. As an example, there have already been 3 million tweets about the Ford Fiesta. And in April, Ford CEO Alan Mulally answered questions on Twitter. One consumer was undecided after doing a second test drive. Mulally personally called him and won the consumer over.
Twitter Homepage

Twitter Homepage

If you’re not on Twitter yet and want to, but don’t understand how it works. Here’s a few tips to get you started.

YOU WANT TO: Acknowledge someone, publicly talk to someone
HOW: Put a @ before their user ID
EXAMPLE: @quinonesanibal Really nice follow up to milliondollarhomepage.com http://bit.ly/1R4bnT

YOU WANT TO: Retweet something cool that someone wrote
HOW: Put a RT before you paste their message.
EXAMPLES: RT @leeclowsbeard Dear jr. (or sr.) team: Before whining about not getting good work produced, try showing some first.
Really nice video. RT @Vejvoda: Did You Know 4.0 – Fascinating, The Economist does it again. http://bit.ly/2LAr7F

YOU WANT TO: PUT A HASHTAG (aka tag your tweet)
HOW: Put a # before the hashtag you would like to use
EXAMPLES: “The purpose of a business is to create a customer who creates customers for you. ” -Peter Drucker #ims09
Bring Tracy Morgan to Twitter. http://twacy.org “Tell her that you want her privates and your privates to do a high five.” -TM #twacy

YOU WANT TO: POST A URL, BUT IT’S FREAKIN’ LONG. HOW: Paste the URL in BIT.LY first. This site shrinks your URL from 50 characters to around 7.

YOU WANT TO: WRITE SOMETHING, BUT IT’S TOO LONG
HOW: Don’t be afraid of using “&” for “and” or “2” for “to” or leaving off punctuation.
Example: It’s nice outside. I ran 2 the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument & the Mall this AM. Check out this crazy bird. http://twitpic.com/56748

***Some facts for this article were researched from mashable.com. Follow Mashable on Twitter for great social media news.

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One Response to “Why Twitter is changing the world.”

  1. Dave Patterson October 23, 2009 at 6:23 am #

    I agree. I remember when Twitter was brand new. I thought thats stupid. And now Im on it every day and sometimes for hours at a time. But like myspace in the early days, it can’t handle all of the traffic. Its crazy too. As new as Twitter is it is number 13 in Alexa.com’s ranking. Way crazy. Great post!

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