There’s an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Twitter is a paradox that redefines that oldsaying to, “If it’s broke, don’t fix it, because it works.”For all intents and purposes, Twitter shouldn’t work, yet 200 million people (and bots) havecreated accounts in this thriving informationegosystem. Now, news no longer breaks,it Tweets.Celebrities use it daily toconnectdirectly with fans and also augment their income streams.Politicians and governments use Twitter tocommunicatewith constituents andone another .Everyday people rely on Twitter to find information and share experiences. And for those more“influential” Twitter users, connectedness pays off in the form rewards, recognition, andcompensation.Twitter has evolved into ahuman seismographthat channels the pulse of business, politics,entertainment, news, and culture into the mobile phones and PCs and defines of our connectedsociety. Twitter is a public confessional where screens become thewindowto self-expression,validation, recognition, with each contributing to a digital form of self confidence.And it is thisnew assurance that guides our actions in the real world. I Tweet therefore I am…whatever I wantto become.Indeed, Twitter shouldn’t work, but it does. What started as a hybrid public messaging servicemeets social network, is now a flourishing information network where people connect anddisconnect based on interests and fleeting moments of intellectual, sophomoric and parallelintimacy. As such, Twitter forces the evolution of social networking from social graphs to
interest graphs, where people are not only connected to those they know, but also those whoshare their interests.While it’s often chided for its ability to assemble and syndicate irrelevant, irresponsible, andquestionable activity, Twitter excels in aligning relevance with those who understand how tofilter streams to their advantage. And this is where things start to get interesting, as I don’t believe we’ve seen Twitter’s true impact on our digital and IRL culture.
Twitter’s Awareness vs. Adoption
Thestateof theTwitterverseis in flux. Capturing its shape, genetic makeup and direction is akinto measuring the development of a baby in a womb. It’s growing, quickly, and even though weknow that a baby will arrive and grow into a human being, we never know exactly who this
person will ultimately become nor can we be certain of its personality through each of thedevelopment stages.Twitter’s challenge with awareness versus adoption has plagued the fledgling company since the beginning. One of the top Google searches for Twitter after all is “I don’t get Twitter.”The Pew Internet & American Life Project announced in June 2011 that Twitter usage rose from8% of US Internet users in Fall 2010 to 13% in May 2011. Representing an impressive 62%spike in adoption, many question the significance of the bump in its migration towardmainstream adoption. As eMarketer recently wrote, Twitter has a problem withAwareness vs.Usage.Twitter’s awareness has greatly benefited from the nonstop media attention it receives due tocontroversial and high profile users. Citing Arbitron and Edison research, we see that 92% of