When Will Twitter Go Mainstream?

Filed as Features on January 2, 2009 11:42 am

I would argue that blogs are already mainstream. When I was in the USA last I saw bloggers mentioned quite a bit on national TV news, to a lesser extent it happens over here in the UK also. When the talking heads mention something assuming everyone knows what it is, surely then it is mainstream, even if a large part of the population couldn’t tell a blog apart from any other website.

MySpace and FaceBook I would say are mainstream because my Mum has heard of them, and not through me.

What about Twitter?

I believe Twitter is about to go mainstream because I am following a few real celebrities on Twitter who get the medium outside of using it as another feed.

One or two of those names might not be familiar to you but I am thrilled that each one has joined the world of Twitter, and of course each one will bring their own non-internet-geek audiences along sooner or later.

Are there other non internet-famous people you are following who you would recommend? Do you think Twitter will ever/never go mainstream? Please share in the comments … and of course follow me on Twitter too!

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  1. By Brett posted on January 2, 2009 at 11:46 am
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    Twitter will go mainstream as soon as my mom starts using it.

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  2. By Laura posted on January 2, 2009 at 11:47 am
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    I think it’s becoming mainstream this year, with Grandmas joining Twitter to connect with family and friends.

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  3. By Sandi Johnson posted on January 2, 2009 at 11:49 am
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    How could Twitter NOT go mainstream in today’s hyper-connected world? Add to that the fact that viral marketing and word of mouth advertising are at an all-time high, and the general lack of trust alot of folks have for mainstream news outlets? Services like Twitter are the perfect answer for that kind of environment.

    Not to mention, Twitter’s just a lot of fun. I have met so many interesting people I would have otherwise never had a chance to speak to, much less get to know.

    Funny that you mention your Mum. I can’t use my parents as a gauge for mainstream. My father bought himself an iPhone as soon as they came out. He’s a tech junkie. He’s usually the one who tells me about something new or fun I should try out.

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  4. By Brody Harper posted on January 2, 2009 at 11:55 am
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    If you notice the Christian Music Market, several artists are already on board and have thousands of followers.

    oh yeah.. and you can follow me as well… twitter.com/brodyharper

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  5. By Mark Lee posted on January 2, 2009 at 12:04 pm
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    Depends what you mean by ‘mainstream’. Twitter is getting mentioned in the mainstream media but it’s not ubiquitous as are facebook, iphone and internet.

    A substantial majority of people have access to the internet and many use it daily. Most of them have heard of iphones and facebook. Most have NOT heard of Twitter. I think that could change in 2009.

    Will avid facebook users start using twitter instead of facebook? No. Will people who don’t use facebook start using twitter in large numbers enough numbers for it to be considered mainstream? Again I think not.

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  6. By Jaz Cummins posted on January 2, 2009 at 12:13 pm
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    I totally agree on the ‘Mum factor’ thing. Friends and family are starting to spot it in the papers, ask more about it unprompted by me.

    I don’t know about the mainstream question though, what my non-tweeting friends often say is that they just don’t want to self-publish in that way. I think it will appeal to some mainstream figures as you’ve mentioned, but there’ll be a fair amount of people who just don’t want to update another profile about themselves – weird huh!

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  7. By Brandon Uttley posted on January 2, 2009 at 12:26 pm
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    My guess is by mid-2009, Twitter will be considered somewhat “mainstream.” But even in its simplicity, Twitter still baffles a lot of people. So the abandonment rate will be high until there are better apps and improvements in the way some things work, like “retweets” “@s” and “directs.” Not to mention esoteric concepts like the hashtag.

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  8. By Kathryn Hall/kathrynhallpublicist.com posted on January 2, 2009 at 12:26 pm
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    I’m not so certain MySpace and FaceBook are in fact mainstream. I say this because the Today Show interviewed NYT blogger Lisa Belkin this morning talking about how weird kids think it is for their moms to be (basically) invading FaceBook. My daughter was here for Christmas and clearly did not want me to see her MySpace page (which I respected). So until MySpace and FaceBook stop being seen fully as kids’ domain, I would argue that these are not mainstreamed. If anything Twitter is the most mainstreamed of the three, as I have followers from all ages, and follow from all ages. Plus I have followers who are part of my professional life as a business book publicist and followers who follow my blog Plant Whatever Brings You Joy. I wondered if that would work, and it clearly does. So my bet is that Twitter will prove to be the most mainstreamed as all as it is the most culturally liberated, crossing the most marketing segments in a flash.

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  9. By Eric Heinzman posted on January 2, 2009 at 12:34 pm
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    Ditto on the Mom factor. In my 2009 predictions I likened it to back when “Mom” first got email. . . then proceeded to phone every time she sent an email to let you know she had sent it. I recently got the “Just what is this Twitter thing, anyway?” question from my mom. I don’t think she’s on it yet, but I expect an email notification when that day comes. Followed by a phone call.

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  10. By Jordan Salvit posted on January 2, 2009 at 12:36 pm
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    These were some stats from august on time.com by Bill Tancer: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1834131,00.html?cnn=yes
    I think they show that the reason twitter hasn’t gone mainstream yet is because the community isn’t diverse enough. So I think the question is not will twitter go mainstream, it is how do we make twitter more diverse?

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  11. By Sandi Johnson posted on January 2, 2009 at 12:38 pm
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    Kathryn,

    Interesting perspective. I agree that Facebook and MySpace are still stereotyped as social destinations for “kids.” It does make it a little harder to mainstream those concepts for business/grown-ups like us. And I agree that Twitter stands a better chance of going mainstream, as it does cross the most market segments/demographics.

    Do I think Twitter will be so mainstream that everyone on the planet will use it? No, probably not. However, I do think that within the next year or so you’ll have to have lived under a rock not to have heard about it/know what Twitter is.

    I think just about every parent out there knows about MySpace and Facebook, and more often than not, has a basic understanding of what those sites are. (Even if they don’t personally use them.) That is my idea of a concept going “mainstream.” I think Twitter will easily get to that level of mainstream.

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  12. By Shinil Payamal posted on January 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm
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    Hi Garrett,

    First of all, a Happy New Year to everybody reading this wonderful post!

    As far I am concerned, Twitter is already pretty mainstream considering that CNN is using it and so are some of the TV channels here in India. The utility of Twitter was prominently displayed during the #Mumbai terror attacks and no doubt, it is only going to grow.

    P.S.: Got a thumbs up on StumbleUpon. :-)

    Best Wishes,
    Shinil.
    @shinils on Twitter – http://twitter.com/shinils

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  13. By Agitationist posted on January 13, 2009 at 11:47 am
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    Reply

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