The presidential election is a good deal for Twitter, according to the latest numbers from Nielsen Online, reported by CNET’s Webware blog. Twitter is currently the fastest growing social-networking site, according to the numbers, with a massive growth of 343% when looking back to September last year. Several other social-networking sites show similar growth, especially Tagged.com with 330% (at #2), and Ning at 251% (#3) in particular.
Massive growth in the social-network sphere in general, and in microblogging in particular, makes sense when there’s something to talk about. Why else would sites like Twitter see huge spikes during Apple events, for instance? Meanwhile, the presidential election is more interesting to the mainstream crowd, which in turns makes them look for a place to vent. And when the likes of Britney Spears show up on Twitter, possibly bringing the microblogging service to the printed headlines, that’ll spark the growth further. Not because people want to connect with Britney, I doubt anyone buys that PR ploy, but rather they think of the service when they want to talk about current events, share their point of view, and stay in the loop. It’s about getting into people reference frame for Twitter, and when they stumble upon the service online, they might join in the conversation.
That’s why I think Twitter’s election page is a great idea. It further brings focus to the fact that Twitter is about conversations, and the ease of texting is accessible to everyone these days, where mobile phones are more or less glued onto our heads.
In a sense, Paul Boutin is right when he says that blogging is dead and that microblogging is the new shit. If you think of blogging as everybody’s movement, I can buy it, since most people won’t keep up with a blog in the long run. Pushing out a handful of 140 character “posts” via Twitter is a completely different matter, not as time consuming or even demanding, since you can do it on the bus, subway, in the toilet (please don’t), or whatever.
Microblogging is an accessible platform, and Twitter is the killer app.
It doesn’t matter who wins the Presidential election. Either way, the losing side will have a lot to be pissed about, and the winners want to gloat, so that’s even more people tweeting away. Microblogging is winning either way.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.