the Tipping Point of Twitter?

I’m a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell and both his books; the Tipping Point and Blink. Based on reading the tipping point, and the principles behind the concept.

But first; what is the meaning:

Tipping points are “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.” Gladwell defines a tipping point as a sociological term: “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” The book seeks to explain and describe the “mysterious” sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.” The examples of such changes in his book include the rise in popularity and sales of Hush Puppies shoes in the mid-1990s and the precipitous drop in the New York City crime rate after 1990.

Twitter has been around since 2006 and has become a popular way of connection and communication between people. But the fact of the matter is that it has mainly been used by people in the communication, technology, advertising and music industry – and people defined as early adopters.

The last month there has been a change in that and I’m not sure it can be defined as a tipping point, but it kinda is. when Ashton Kutcher announced his competition with CNN on the race to reach 1 mill followers, and when he in the aftermath appeared on the Oprah show to teach and help her on twitter – something happened. More and more average joe’s became a part of the community and suddenly everybody wants to join in.


The evidence is quite clear:

Share of US Internet visits to Twitter increased 24% on Friday, April 17, the day of Oprah’s first Tweet. Comparing visits with the previous Friday, visits were up 43%.

Hitwise clickstream data reveals that on April 17, 37% of visits to were new visitors (as opposed to returning). The service typically has a high ratio of new visitors as it is still very much in a growth phase. However, the percentage of new visitors was 5% higher on Friday than the previous day and the average for March. To give a benchmark, Facebook’s ratio of new visitors was 8% in March.


Is it a positive thing?

From a marketing and business point of view – I belive it to be a good thing. Twitter is becoming a representative of all walks of live and all kinds of people – which in turn will make the service more easy to moneytize. Will it affect us “early adoptors”? Why should it. The reason I’m on twitter is to listen, engage, share, have conversations with new and old connections. It’s an amazing tool, if you choose to be a part of it – and I belive the principle “the more – the merrier” is suitable.


Wait, what’s the catch?

The problem is that the celebrities as the likes of Oprah, Ashton Kutcher, and others is that they really don’t use it the right way. Simon Dumenco wrote an interesting post for Advertising Age, where he pointed out the following:

Kutcher’s win was symbolic of a paradigm shift: the replacement of centralized, concentrated media power with a democratized two-way dialogue — after all, that’s what “following” and having “followers” is all about.

As of this writing, Kutcher has 1,356,058 followers and is following 95 Twitter feeds. – I rest my case.

As a New York commenter who goes by Stevewax wrote, “Seems to me what’s useful with Twitter is creating a small, two-way community with people who aren’t busy running a Twitter team and who have time to SHARE ideas. Rather than broadcast them.” Amen.

This is the flip-side. It’s not about the numbers game – it’s about being authentic, be a part of the conversation and give, listen and learn from others. The important thing for us to do in this eco-system, is to help the new ones to learn to crawl before they get up and start running. In this way we can all enjoy the diversity and the beauty of the vast and large community we’re all connected to and a part of.

Do you think that @aplusk and @oprah presence is the tipping point for twitter in terms of making it avaliable, accepted and used by everyone?


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