December 1, 2009

To Tweet Or Not To

December 01, 2009 Posted by Vijay , No comments

I was neglectful of twitter for a long time, but the tweeting bug finally bit me . Twitter has been the rage, especially in the past year. The fact that twitter is the top word used in English language in 2009 bears testimony to this. Quite an act, driven almost entirely by the social website's popularity. It took out words like H1N1 and stimulus in the top words list, published by Global Language Monitor.

Twitter is such a rage, that it is almost like the next rss out there. While twitter restricts the number of characters to 140, the impact of tweeting has been contagious. Any news channel or website, which does not have twitter ids would come as a shock for me in this day and age. Any mobile phone which comes out these days, brands itself with claims of having tweeting options in them.

It does seem to me though, that twitter is the sms version of the web. The crucial advantage twitter has, that it is ubiquitous due its presence in the internet. A sms though is confined to a circle. The only comparison which comes up and which ends abruptly is the character based entry. While a sms would be a quick message or response to a select group, tweets are more for a quick update or a news item on the web, for one and all to see. sms is at a personal level, while tweets are at a social level for anyone accustomed to internet.

The fact that twitter has been most searched and so vastly used, especially in 2009 bears a strange coincidence with the recession. Is it that, people have been following up or socializing more aggressively to know of happenings about the impact of recession? It would be much easier to know ground level details of layoffs or bankruptcies in a 140 character format, than to wait and rely on data gathering engines to throw up data once in a quarter. Is that the reason for twitter to have picked up so tremendously? But it certainly looks likely, that socializing through twitter would help approach multiple avenues for the unfortunate ones who get laid off. So much so, that linkedin (business networking platform) now provides integration with twitter!

Earlier, microsoft's bing and google , both strung partnerships with twitter for their search results. The objective was quite simple. To refine search results, to reflect the very latest happening around the world at any moment. The power of twitter for up to date news has not been lost on the biggies of internet search. That’s the power of twitter. Unadulterated ground level reality, for all to read.

But now that recession has pretty much ended, and economies across the globe are picking up, is there a need for twitter to worry? It may have ridden the recession wave to popularize itself, but what happens of it post recession? Data recently released by eMarketer , reveals a significant dip in the traffic to the tweeting website in the months from September to October. Atleast the traffic from U.S to twitter website seems to indicate so. Does that mean, people are losing interest in twitter? Is tweeting well past its fad?

It coincides unusually with a pickup in the economy. Is it that, when people were desperate to socialize and land a job, twitter was the in-thing, while after the economy picked up, no one had the time for tweeting? The research though does not mention traffic to twitter via third party applications or through mobile access. So, things could still be rosy for twitter.