Twitter, Voyeurism & Small Towns

My friend Chris makes a great argument that Twitter, while getting popular amongst niche circles, will never cross over into true mainstream like Facebook has.
I don’t buy the idea that Twitter will be like the invention of the phone, cell phone or computer, where this narrow set of first adopters paves the way and then a floodgate of regular people follow. That time has passed. It’s actually the masses that have (ironically for a social technology) revolted from Twitter because it’s been crammed down their throats in the media and on the Web, and regular people have balked at it. They are happy to say “I don’t get it, and I don’t want to get it.” Facebook happened more organically in dorm rooms because people saw a need for it. People immediately find their friends there, and that matters.
If Chris is talking specifically about the brand Twitter, I would contest that it is too early to tell whether or not Twitter is the ‘it’ application that mass media portrays that it is.  Micromessaging, though, is here to stay.
I look at Twitter like the Friendster of micromessaging. There is a chance that Twitter could devolve and die like Friendster did, making way for MySpace which faltered making way for Facebook.
But I don’t see micromessaging dying anytime soon. In fact, I only see it getting more and more prominent.
People by nature are egotistical and everyone believes that they have something vital to say. As soon as the printing press became common, people were posting bills and handing out fliers sharing their ideas / opinions. I’m quite sure that there was some guy on a high hill shouting smoke signals. There was ham radio, CB’s, fanzines on photocopiers, CompuServe forums, email lists, blogs and now Twitter.
To further show my point, I looked at the town where I grew up.  A small town, not a very technologically sophisticated town of about 3,000 people.
People love to shout out their thoughts and love being voyeuristic and see what other people are doing. Micromessaging isn’t going away anytime soon.

My friend Chris makes an interesting argument that Twitter, while getting popular amongst niche circles, will never cross over into true mainstream like Facebook has.

I don’t buy the idea that Twitter will be like the invention of the phone, cell phone or computer, where this narrow set of first adopters paves the way and then a floodgate of regular people follow. That time has passed. It’s actually the masses that have (ironically for a social technology) revolted from Twitter because it’s been crammed down their throats in the media and on the Web, and regular people have balked at it. They are happy to say “I don’t get it, and I don’t want to get it.” Facebook happened more organically in dorm rooms because people saw a need for it. People immediately find their friends there, and that matters.

If Chris is talking specifically about the brand Twitter, I would say that it is too early to tell whether or not Twitter is the ‘it’ application that mass media portrays that it is.  Micromessaging, though, is here to stay.I look at Twitter like the Friendster of micromessaging. There is a chance that Twitter could devolve and become irrelevant like Friendster did, making way for MySpace which faltered making way for Facebook.But I don’t see micromessaging dying anytime soon. In fact, I only see it getting more and more prominent.People by nature are egotistical and everyone believes that they have something vital to say (bloggers especially). As soon as the printing press became common, people were posting bills and handing out fliers sharing their ideas & opinions. I’m quite sure that there was some guy on a high hill smoke signaling his ideas. There was ham radio, CB’s, fanzines on photocopiers, CompuServe forums, email lists, blogs and now Twitter.To further show my point, I looked at the town where I grew up.  A small, not very technologically sophisticated town of about 3,000 people. A simple Twitter Search of the town name reveals that people there are using Twitter.  These are real people, not some new-media elites grabbing on to this medium. They have a small community and Twitter offers the easiest way to reach them with their ideas and opinions.People love to shout out their thoughts and people love being voyeuristic. Yelling and watching aren’t going away anytime soon.  Neither is micromessaging.What do you think? Is Twitter a flash in the proverbial pan? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.Photo by Fuffer – who has great cartoons.

Media_httpimgzemantac_fgdqi

4 thoughts on “Twitter, Voyeurism & Small Towns

  1. Tweets that mention Twitter usage in small towns, by small communities proves the value of micromessaging -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by cglynch, Eugene Lee and Scott Schnaars, topsy_top20k. topsy_top20k said: I just blogged: Twitter, Voyeurism & Small Towns: My friend Chris makes a great argument that Tw… http://bit.ly/56z2hJ What do you think? […]

  2. Garza Girl says:

    Welllll, Friendster was DOA — between no business plan and a massive south east Asian contingent, it was going to be hard to make money in the long run. Then, of course there's the personality issues that ruled Friendster.<br><br>That aside, I agree that micromessaging is here to stay. Twitter, specifically, is here to stay. How it's going to be profitable is another story. And we'll chat again when they're acquired by Turner or (godforbid) Fox. Then it will be a marketing tool and only a marketing tool and we will find a way to micromessage somewhere else.<br><br>One that you didn't mention is FourSquare, which I found highly addictive. Until I started checking in at my neighbor's house every day (and his wife didn't think that was so funny). And it's a bit stalkerific. The community piece of it — your real hometown — is the part that makes it particularly uncool for me. Is FourSquare micromessaging or a Human LoJack?<br><br>Oh, and by the way, I frequently look up the small town that you (and I) live in. It's amazing to see what life is beyond my own in a town I thought I knew so well.

  3. Garza Girl says:

    Welllll, Friendster was DOA — between no business plan and a massive south east Asian contingent, it was going to be hard to make money in the long run. Then, of course there's the personality issues that ruled Friendster.<br><br>That aside, I agree that micromessaging is here to stay. Twitter, specifically, is here to stay. How it's going to be profitable is another story. And we'll chat again when they're acquired by Turner or (godforbid) Fox. Then it will be a marketing tool and only a marketing tool and we will find a way to micromessage somewhere else.<br><br>One that you didn't mention is FourSquare, which I found highly addictive. Until I started checking in at my neighbor's house every day (and his wife didn't think that was so funny). And it's a bit stalkerific. The community piece of it — your real hometown — is the part that makes it particularly uncool for me. Is FourSquare micromessaging or a Human LoJack?<br><br>Oh, and by the way, I frequently look up the small town that you (and I) live in. It's amazing to see what life is beyond my own in a town I thought I knew so well.

  4. Garza Girl says:

    Welllll, Friendster was DOA — between no business plan and a massive south east Asian contingent, it was going to be hard to make money in the long run. Then, of course there's the personality issues that ruled Friendster.<br><br>That aside, I agree that micromessaging is here to stay. Twitter, specifically, is here to stay. How it's going to be profitable is another story. And we'll chat again when they're acquired by Turner or (godforbid) Fox. Then it will be a marketing tool and only a marketing tool and we will find a way to micromessage somewhere else.<br><br>One that you didn't mention is FourSquare, which I found highly addictive. Until I started checking in at my neighbor's house every day (and his wife didn't think that was so funny). And it's a bit stalkerific. The community piece of it — your real hometown — is the part that makes it particularly uncool for me. Is FourSquare micromessaging or a Human LoJack?<br><br>Oh, and by the way, I frequently look up the small town that you (and I) live in. It's amazing to see what life is beyond my own in a town I thought I knew so well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s