This week I have hit 2,000 Tweets. Hold your horses, let me explain. I am not a long time Twitter user. I have to thank my girlfriend for showing me the light. I have been on Twitter for a couple of months and until just recently have been using it here and there. I have, in the last two weeks, switched to using Twitter for self promotion of my blog. Some of you that might be reading this are victims of said promotion. But I don’t think this is a bad way of using social media. But that is not the point of my post today.
The point of today’s blog is to discuss a couple of interesting Twitter facts with you. The first is the absolute astonishing numbers that Twitter has seen over the last twelve months. (This is all before Oprah joined Twitter. That in itself is a blog post.) The first number is the March to April Twitter increase in users. (This might in fact have been at Oprah’s fault.) From the month of March to April Twitter saw an increase of 1,382% of new users. Never mind the fact that over 60% of them will never access his or her account again. (That boggles my mind that so many people can not see the power behind social media and the pure genius of Twitter. That 60% are the folks I always talk about that just don’t “get it”.)
When I first read that number I was unsure how to react. I at first thought of the word fad that has been being passed around for quite some time now. (I am sorry folks, Twitter and social media alike are not fads.) But that was until I saw the next number on my list of statistics. (Maybe one of the hardest classes, next to algebra and trigonometry, that I have ever taken.)
Twitter has seen, from April of last year, until April of this year, an increase of over 3,000% in it’s unique, first time users. This number does sadly include the bots and the spammers (I am not a spammer thank you very much) and the fake accounts that we are seeing more of every day, but for lack of a better estimate, this is a staggering number. Think about that. MySpace has never seen numbers like that. Facebook has never seen anything like this. There is no social media tool, and I dare you to name one, that has seen an outburst in new users.
But where does it end? Oprah is on Twitter. Shaq is on Twitter. I would venture to bet your mom is even on Twitter. (Even though I just read an article today that said 34% of mom’s are on Twitter. I knew as soon as they went public with Twitter there would be people using it of all walks of life. I only await the criminals to catch on. They pretty much run MySpace the way it is now. MySpace is built for bands and Chris Hansen.) Do celebrities equal the end of Twitter users. Once all the stars are on Twitter are we through? Speaking of stars.
NASA, which recently launched a seven day (I am pretty sure it lasted more than seven days) maintenance trip to the Hubble space telescope. In this trip the astronauts (who else wanted to be one of those when they were a kid) were sent up to make the final stages of repairs to the telescope. This said trip would keep the telescope running a few more years, five to be exact, in time for them to launch their next big secret, a telescope similar in shape and size only this time over a million miles from the crust of the earth. (The Hubble is only 300 miles in outer space.)
But NASA is in plans of (and this is the first time I have heard this term too) hosting an invitation only space shuttle launch. The invites are going to what NASA is calling the ‘twedia’. (I am glad that my computer showed that as a misspelling.) This will be an event with anywhere from 100-200 participants ranging from Tweeters to bloggers (it did not misspell Tweeters by the way) and will place them all in the same room at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Do you think these folks will even talk to each other? Or will they simply Tweet at each other as the day progresses?
I would also like to point out that NASA has felt the need to explain to you what Twitter is. According to NASA’s latest press release (the one that covered this new idea) they listed Twitter as the following:
“Twitter is an Internet-based text message service that allows users to post updates — called “tweets” — of no more than 140 characters. In this instance, media members at the launch will be able to issue reports to Twitter users who have signed up to receive them. The tweets also are posted and archived on Twitter.com.”
I am glad they they cleared that up for me.
I have actually been following one of these astronauts (and have shared communication with him through his recent launch). More than 350,000 people, actually, are following the updates from astronaut Michael Massimino, who has the handle of Astro_Mike, on Twitter. So I am not alone in this. And if you have just one guy Tweeting to that many people (nothing compared to Kutcher or Shaq) then there is a trend there that will gain some national media attention.
But how many of these Twitter based things can we come up with? I get the point of Twitter. I understand the power that it holds. And I am trying to share that with others all over the Internet, but where do we start to think about some regulation? When do we start to realize that this is a “fad” that is not going anywhere? When do we make the words Twitter and Tweeting actual English grammar? Do we have to take it to the moon before anyone will realize the power of this tool?
(BTW, I do not actually believe that we have been to the moon. Even though the guys on Mythbusters seem to disagree. Thanks for sharing that Josh.)