Published on julio 10th, 2009 | by admin0
54% of Communicators thinks Twitter is a Fad.
Founded in March 2006, Twitter has emerged from a simple SMS service to one of the world’s most popular micro-blogging platform with over 22 million unique visitors in the United States in June (according to the latest statistics from Compete). Its recent phenomenal growth has stunned many analysts and bloggers who think that the website is merely a simple social networking platform unlike rival Facebook. Without the presence of influential celebrities such as Barack Obama, Ashton Kutcher and Oprah Winfrey, Twitter will just remain as another start-up.
According to a poll of communicators conducted by Ragan Communications, 54 percent of 702 respondents claim Twitter is a fad and will plateau in the near future. Not surprisingly, the results complement a recent study by stat tracking firm Nielsen which found out that 60% of users who sign up fail to return the following month. In other words, hundreds of thousands of people around the world flood the Twitter sign-up page daily because of the excessive coverage by the press and blogs but gave it up soon after posting a tweet or two.
Why? Well, Twitter isn’t that addictive as compared to Facebook which offers more interesting and exciting features. What’s more, these communicators think it’s fad after all. Since everybody’s doing it, it’ll become a natural habit for us to follow the trend. “Ashton Kutcher and CNN have a steady supply of fans who want to know what they do. People like us, people with a job to do, every so often we do something of interest to the general public [but] we don’t have that steady supply of stuff that the public is interested in,” says Bob Hirschfeld, senior public information officer for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
From the poll, it has showed many divisions among the communicators as to Twitter’s usefulness and the value they can potentially bring to companies and brands. Some say the micro-blogging platform is useful in garnering potential customers and hence generating sales. One good example is Dell’s Twitter outlet. Using the profile as a way to extend exclusive offers, discounts and other forms of savings, the US tech giant revealed in a blog post that it has generated more than $2 million in revenue. This clearly shows that companies are able to benefit from the huge community by tapping into it as a means of sharing their news, engaging with customers or promoting their products, others are looking for ways to turn tweets into dollars.
On the other hand, some disagree with using Twitter as a long-term and viable communication and business tool to connect with customers on the social website. Cyndi Cahill, senior vice president of Vitalize Consulting Solutions says Twitter will get more popular before it fades away. “I think it will stay around,” Cahill says, “There’s probably another year of people figuring it out, and then people will think, ‘I don’t have anything to say.” Josh McColough, a communicator at Sherman Health, a hospital that recently gained thousands of Twitter followers after it live-tweeted a surgery, believes that companies trying to attract and sell to customers are likely a natural fit for Twitter. “I think it’s effective if you’re using it right and targeting the right audience.”
In my own opinion, Twitter suits the preferences of celebrities who want to connect with their fans on the social web by sharing their thoughts and views of a particular issue or even tweet about what they are doing. From my observation, the top 5 Twitter users in the world based on the number of followers are celebrities rather than notable companies such as Google or even news broadcasting company CNN. The reason is simple. Twitter only offers 140 characters and this limits the way companies as it’s nearly impossible to explain “big science” in 140 characters or less without a link.