Okay, I’m in. And apparently I’m a bit late to the party. I just read an article on CNN that said that in the last year — that’s February 2008 to February 2009 — the number of Twitter users jumped from 475,000 to — are you ready for this? — seven MILLION. That’s an increase of 1374 percent, according to their math. That’s a whole lot of tweeting going on.
And, if you are in the business of creating and spreading messages, a network with seven million users gets your attention.
So I’m in, but I’m not in because I’ve figured how I’m going to make it work for me. Frankly, I’m not convinced that anyone has quite figured out exactly how it should work.
Yes, I know the success stories. The celebs with thousands of followers, the web 2.0 thought leaders who wax eloquent in 140 characters, the guy who broke the news to the world that a plane had gone down in the Hudson from his iPhone and Twitter account.
But I’m not a celeb, nor much of a thought leader. And my communications have little to do with breaking news. They are communications that require context and demand depth, and whatever Twitter’s strengths may be, I hope we can all agree that these capabilities aren’t among them.
Still, I’m intrigued by the thought of discovering more, of learning how this techno-tsunami will change the way I must work. Can I use it to build audiences and strengthen communities? Can an organization establish and hold these audiences in the same way an individual can — all while using 140 characters at a time? Or does its chief value for me lie in its ability to carry a link out to all who are following my feed, a link that will pull folks into a longer form story on the web, a story that has the context, the depth, and the call to action that I need?
Frankly, I don’t know a thing about the future of Twitter. As the CNN article posits, perhaps there’s a backlash brewing. That wouldn’t be too surprising, would it? Usually if something grows that much that fast, there’s always a bit of a backlash. (Can anyone say Crocs?)
I suppose that’s because what makes such a thing gain traction — its coolness, hipness, and web-geeky kind of cred– is horribly diminished when when guys like me get a hold of it. (Just today, I had to resist the impulse to tweet something like “It must be really spring. I just saw a bluebird.”)
I may be late to the party, but at least it’s still a party — for now. Maybe I’ll see you there. If not, I’ll tweet and let you know how it is.
How are you using Twitter personally? What about professionally? What do you see as its chief strength? Is it working for you? Share your thoughts in the comments (and use as many characters as you want.)