Twitter…. The next big thing?!

Twitter this and Twitter that…

It came to my attention a few months ago and I signed up, had a poke around but couldn’t really see how this would take off – seemed like a rip off to facebook status updates…

Now it seems that its growing in popularity as “Micro-blogging” looks set to send the UK twittering. I’d argue that at present the twitters are still in the early adopter stage (within the UK) and it will be a few months yet before friends are packing up their facebook updates and focusing on twittering to their hearts content but, by the looks of it, it could happen.


The figures look good and this article looking at user numbers (released in Dec 2008) paints a robust picture.

Let’s think about the UK market. Twitter is still not on the radar for many. In week ending 17/01 Twitter was the 291st visited website in the UK. (Hitwise Intelligence, 09) – definately nothing for Facebook to be worrying about yet.

Yet how is it useful? I looked into some Twitter user stats and found the top poster doing 920 updates. On investigating this user was simply spamming users. Another Top 10 Twitter (in terms of usage) according to Tweetrush is On Time who (yep you guessed it!) sends a tweet update to its followers ever 2 – 3 minutes telling them the time. Is this of value or is this simply spam?

Going into it with a bit more detail the slightly more useful hitwise findings found that:

Twitter is becoming an important source of Internet traffic for many sites, and the amount of traffic it sends to other websites has increased 30-fold over the last 12 months.

Sites are using their tweets to sucessfully generate top of mind reminders to their consumers – serving as a prompt to visit. I haven’t found a huge amount of brands doing this to their advantage although Innocent Drinks and their twitter shows some nice examples of users using the tweet to give feedback on products and the ease of response Innocent then have to give the users feedback.

As with anything the adoption by brands is unlikely to hit until the consumer mass take up the technology yet getting in early and helping set the model for success will stand any brand in a position to gain followers quickly (as commerical noise is less minimal) but, as with anything, playing in the social space requires a strategy that is mindful of the environment and has clear objectives as to what the presence is set out to achiece – briefs of “I need to be on Twitter as it’s popular” look set to hit inboxes of digital agencies everywhere by end of Summer this year – triggering waves of panics as reasons for being there are totally overlooked in favour of self-indulgent positings.

As celebs (and brands) use it and discuss the platform openly adoption is likely to tip relatively quickly. Hitwise have even updated their report to include the impact of Jonathan Ross / Stephen Fry’s discussion on Twitter to show how it positively affected traffic.

Looking at the daily data from last week, it seems that the exposure granted by Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry discussing Twitter on TV (Saturday 24th increase, the day after Friday Night with Jonathan Ross) had a slightly bigger impact on the site’s UK usage than Obama’s inauguration (Jan 20th).


Still curious? Check out Britney Spears, Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross – all twittering away (with varying degrees of success!)


Posted on January 27, 2009, in Social Media, Think Digital and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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