Had Enough Twitter Yet?

Twitter is exploding. You’ve probably seen the numbers.

1,382% comparing February 2009 with February 2008. More than 50% from January 2009 to February 2009.

By all measures, that’s an insane growth rate. Mainstream media has taken note, and celebrities (and impostors) are flocking to Twitter in droves. Pun intended. Do you have a favorite celebrity you follow? I enjoy @THE_REAL_SHAQ.

Do you follow @god?

Even god has an account now, and yes, the lowercase “g” is on purpose. It’s a statement of fact.

Twitter is so common now, it’s quickly replacing Facebook as the pop culture whipping boy of media types. Facebook’s window was pretty small, and they’ve apparently noticed, recently making their interface more micro-bloggy.

Enterprises have noticed too, giving life to companies like Yammer and projects like OraTweet. There’s even a new category and analysis around the “enterprise micro-blogging” space.

As people rush into Twitter, I wonder if the ah-ha moments are coming more quickly. Like many people I know, I created an account on Twitter and waited. It took several months and a conscious effort to start seeing value. My guess is early adopters all have the same pattern of tweets over time. Sparse early, an inflection point, then ramping up each months thereafter.

As you tweet, you discover the value’s in the network, which is what has made Twitter so tough to quit, even when it was fail whaling every day for hours at a time.

Ah, the good old days.

So, do you think that new tweeters follow the blog posts of their fore-tweeters to get to their own inflection points sooner? Do you think they’re using Twitter for different things? Are the celebrities and media types drawing them to Twitter and keeping their attention?

I don’t really know.

I’ve been watching the adoption of OraTweet with interest. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it does underline the common uses for so-called micro-blogging. Incidentally, will someone please coin a better term for generic tweeting than “micro-blogging”.

Here are the common cases I’ve observed:

  1. Frustration
  2. Communication
  3. Seeking and Sharing Information
  4. Work Streaming

With the exception of 4, these are all very common on Twitter as well. 4 represents a unique use case inside the firewall, and I expect to see it grow over time as people discover they can broadcast how busy they are to the whole company, erm anyone listening.

I’m kidding, a little. OraTweet is highly useful for distributed teams to broadcast issues and updates to the entire project team. This was one of its first and best uses.

Not surprisingly 2 (Communication) is finding a home inside the firewall. Hutch Carpenter has an interesting look at how micro-blogging (yuck) is pushing email to the margins inside many companies. I can’t say I’ve noticed this yet here, judging by my inbox, but OraTweet has added another channel for communication.

The new channel fits in between email and IM for communication that isn’t super important (i.e. you can keep it to 140 characters and sloppy writing) or immediate (i.e. you don’t need a pingback right this moment). This actually fits a high percentage of the water cooler/hallway/stop-by-your-cubicle communication that I remember from when I sat in an office, which leads me to wonder if remote workers are adopting more quickly to re-socialize their work time.

Regardless of how we find value in OraTweet, another tool inside the firewall, or Twitter, people are still having trouble getting that it’s public. Hutch had another example of tweeting yourself in the foot last week. Tough to feel bad for someone high-hatting a job offer in this economy.

Remember to tweet with care people.

So, your thoughts on: Twitter’s growth, your own experiences, enterprise adoption, how you find value, how much you dislike Twitter, tweeting yourself in the foot, unfortunate mishaps, and everything else belong in the comments.




  1. I actually like the mxxxx-blxxxxxx term, but to spare your sensitivities I'll refrain from using it here. I'm not familiar with the use of OraTweet, but from my perspective Twitter is more suited for quick blasts of information, rather than collaboration. However, it is very effective at what it does.

  2. It would be tough to use Twitter as it is today for collaboration, due to its public nature. This is where OraTweet and other internal tools can win, smaller audience+groups and you have an effective tool for team collaboration.

  3. Heh, I saw that after posting this and thought it was a strange commentary indeed. Was it an age thing (he's 8 years younger), a gender thing or maybe a “just not that into you” thing?

    Whatever it was, Twitter is a house on fire lately.

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