Has Twitter gone mainstream?13Feb09
From humble beginnings only three years ago the short messaging, social networking service known as Twitter has exploded onto the Internet to become one of the hottest online applications. Originally the love child of tech geeks, it initially took off at South By South West Interactive Festival, Twitter may have just gone mainstream judging by the amount of traditional media coverage it has recently attracted.
The New Year has seen a myriad of Twitter stories in the mainstream media and an explosion of users.
During the Australian Open Tennis tournament the Sydney Morning Herald ran a lead story online regarding the Twitter coverage of the heatwave conditions.
Coverage of the New York plane crash into the Hudson River included many references to the Twitter reports and photos being loaded onto Twitter.
News.com.au also urged readers to follow the horrific Victorian bush fires on Twitter.
In fact news.com.au seems to have gone Twitter-mad with a plethora of stories recently including Twitter ‘influence’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘interesting’.
Not to be outdone, smh.com.au has been filing it’s own barrage of Twitter themed pieces including this on February 12, Join the Twitterati.
Hi profile Twitter users are also garnering attention and bringing Twitter closer to the mainstream. The Twitterverse can now follow the public utterances of:
….and many more
Certainly we are seeing an influx of MSM journalists on Twitter, looking for contacts and stories.
The explosion of Twitter coverage, both in Australia and overseas, is matched by the skyrocketing use of the service. Compete.com has released the latest numbers on US social media usage from January and Twitter has been the big mover jumping 19 places to be the third most used social media application behind Facebook and MySpace. Twitter had over 54 million “monthly visits” in January. This number is likely understated due to the number of third party applications that can be used to access Twitter.
The large amount of mainstream media coverage in recent times suggests that these numbers could climb even more rapidly.
The big questions now may be, will widespread acceptance be good for Twitter, or will it drive away many of the early adopters? Will Twitter be a shooting star, the big thing for a couple of years, before fading away?