Blog Post

For Twitter, the Only Way Is Up

frenchdigitalminister.jpgEarlier this evening, along with a select few journalists, I got a chance to interact with French Minister for Digital Development, Mrs. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who is in town to learn about latest developments in Silicon Valley and learn about the unique ecosystem that helps nurture technology startups in the Bay Area. She is quite a social media enthusiast.

She has a very active Facebook account, about 5,000 followers (supporters) and is not shy to use her Facebook soapbox to take on political detractors. And recently she signed up for Twitter, joining millions of new users that have signed up for the San Francisco-based micro-messaging service in recent months.

Thanks to incessant buzz, constant mentions by television hosts, celebrities — Twitter is the new hot thing on the web. All those media mentions boosted the number of visitors to Twitter.com 131 percent in March to 9.3 million visitors, according to Internet usage tracking service comScore. That’s 5 million more visitors than in February, comScore says. A few days ago, I emailed Twitter co-founder Biz Stone asking him to comment about how many new people were signing for the service. I have heard varied growth rates — a million new members a week to a million new members every three days. Biz politely declined to comment.

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Twitter’s growth is only going to gain momentum, thanks to recent stunts such as CNN buying CNNbrk (an account with a million-odd followers) and its pointless competition with utterly useless Ashton Kutcher to become the No. 1 Twitter user. Even the normally restrained The New York Times has a bit of Twitter fever. As I said earlier, “Twitter, in fact, is not just a company — instead it has become a verb — and in the process, actually represents a certain way of doing things.”

comScore points out that Twitter has also become a vital source of content discovery. They discovered that an average Twitter user visited CNN.com twice as often as typical Internet users likely to visit CNN. Similar patterns hold for other news-oriented web sites such as NYTimes.com, AOL News and Yahoo! News.

As the buzz around Twitter escalates, I couldn’t help but notice how quickly Facebook has fallen out of media favor. Their valuation is part of an open debate. Fortune is asking the question that’s in the back of everyone’s mind: Is Facebook losing its glow? For the record, I don’t think so — I just asked the French minister to be my Facebook friend.

18 Responses to “For Twitter, the Only Way Is Up”

  1. Twitter’s success has shocked media watchers so much they cant stop gushing about it. This has helped Twitter grow exponentially. I am sure within the next 2 years we will have a new service that will give Twitter a run for its money. Till then, lets raise a toast to Twitter. It is no doubt a unique proposition that combines the two models of social networking and chatting that have helped define the internet as it is today.

    I am trying brainstorming to find the next big thing that could divert Twitter users to itself. Until someone comes up with that, let Twitter glow at the expense of Facebook and Mysapce and who not!

    Manish Pahuja

  2. For me twitter is about knowing what friends are doing and it is also about sharing information. II have discovered few useful tools via the twitter updates of my friends. Another cool feature of twitter is the search and twitter trends. I think twitter trends are the most realistic indicators of news being followed by people around the world. If we can have region wise trends, that would be a killer feature.

  3. facebook hasnt lost any of its glow, its just gone from the hot new thing to basically something we are used to using everyday, almost an after thought but still every essential…….I really look at twitter as a great lil utility compared to the social networking aspects. An application like http://www.usetrackthis.com/ shows the usefulness of the app in more than just the standard real time status updates

  4. To me, Twitter is whole new channel or form of communication, along the lines of phone, email, & instant messaging, as opposed to a “Web propoerty” or social profile site like Facebook. Therefore, I don’t necessarily agree that Twitter’s success hurts Facebook in the long run. Twitter is certainly the media buzz topic right now, just as Facebook or YouTube was before that or (to a lesser degree) Second Life a couple of years ago, but ultimately there has to be a viable way to accommodate such meteoric growth and monetize the traffic or the site will eventually wither (a la Friendster).

  5. There is no doubt a social media revolution underway (hint: Twitter). I have found that there are many still who have no idea what Twitter is, how to tweet, or what it does. That is, what benefit does tweeting bring? is Investing time in learning all about Twitter will bring plenty of benefits; especially for those interested in using Twitter as a vehicle for making money. Your readers might be interested in The Twitter Video Tutorial series found on my blog at http://www.digitaldrake.com/welcome-to-my-twitter/

  6. Facebook provides some added benefits that Twitter cannot – more info, videos, links, etc. – all in one place. It builds on Twitter connections – the two can work beautifully hand in hand.

  7. I’m impressed with Twitter’s ability to handle the massive increase in traffic. It was only a little while ago that people were talking of leaving the service because it was so unreliable, the “fail whale” etc. Their servers must have taken a battering over the past couple of months but have held up very well.