It’s been a long time since David Letterman called twitter “crap” on August 25, 2009. That night Dave also said, “Mark my words …when they write about this thousands and thousands and thousands of years from now, twitter will be the indicator that it was the beginning of the end of civilization.” Sixteen months later there are still twitter skeptics, but at least now you can discuss it in polite society without being ridiculed.
If you find yourself among people who do not fully appreciate Twitter’s importance in the communications paradigm shift in which we find ourselves, here are ten facts you can present to help them in their twitter appreciation.
- It’s free The barrier to entry is very low. All you need is a cell phone that can send and receive text messages.
- It’s basic Twitter uses the lowest common denominator for all languages – Internet protocol. It doesn’t get any more basic than ones and zeros.
- Its reach There are 6 billion people on Earth and 4 billion of them have twitter ready devices. Many remote places in the world that were never hardwired for electricity -- let alone plain old telephones -- now have cell phone coverage. You can even talk and exchange text messages with my friend Woody Collins during his philanthropic trips to the Congo.
- It’s open source Twitter makes its source code available to geeks all over the world who develop apps that customize your twitter experience. With well over 70,000 apps it’s safe to say there are thousands of geeks who have a vested interest in twitter’s continued success.
- It’s brief Roger Courville of 1080 Group in Oregon shared this graph giving a visual representation of the incredible shrinking soundbite from 1968 - 1996. It's best to communicate a complete brand message in less than 8 seconds if you want that message to spread.
- It’s not WHAT you know… Through advanced twitter search it’s easy to find and connect with people who may help raise your brand’s awareness. Twitter is the easiest way to connect with influencers including politicians, celebrities, and captains of industry.
- Its diversity Several studies have shown that – when given a problem to solve -- a diverse group of non-experts arrive at better solutions than a group of experts. In his presentation A Logic of Diversity, Scott E Page concludes, “Most of the time the diverse group outperforms the group of the best by a substantial margin.”
- It’s an Uber social media platform Every tweeter belongs to at least one other social media platform. This is based on anecdotal evidence, but I know of NO tweeter who does not participate in at least one other social media platform and yet I know LOTS of facebookers who only do facebook.
- It’s real time News, ideas, brand stories and rumors spread at the speed of light on twitter. When you combine that with its Uber status, information and mis-information that spreads on twitter will trickle down to virtually all other social media platforms.
- It’s the world’s largest bridging social capital group in the recorded history of our species Think of twitter as a round the clock networking event where ANYONE with a device and a connection can virtually mingle with the likes of Bill Gates, Lady Gaga or Roger Ebert.
Only time will tell if David Letterman’s prediction about twitter is accurate. At least now if you run into a twitter nay-sayer you have ten facts to enlighten them on the important role it plays in social media today. Once they are convinced here’s a twitter cheat sheet to help them continue on their journey.
Photo by Mike Licht