Everyone knows that Twitter is huge. Not a day goes by without another story showing how it saved someone’s life, broke a news story first or has fundamentally changed the way we think – its growth and entry into everyday life could justifiably allow its usage to be called (in technobabble bingo) a ‘paradigm shift’.
The questions I have been debating focus on growth. Specifically:
- Does news fuel growth in Twitter or does uptake fuel news?
- Do analysts (as supposed ‘fortune tellers’) get it right and are they ahead of the curve or mere sheep?
- Why is this important?
To answer these questions, I have looked at my favourite community of analysts. With a little help from Carter Lusher’s analyst twitter directory as well as my own research, it has been possible to monitor the uptake of analysts on Twitter.
One of the fortunate aspects of using analysts as the criteria for this search is that there are very few closed communities that we can easily track growth in – if you know any let me know and I’ll add them to the table.
Does news fuel growth in Twitter or does uptake fuel news?
Not surprisingly the two are well connected – with a clear conclusion that in the early part of this year news significantly drove new visitors to twitter.
Do analysts (as supposed ‘fortune tellers’) get it right and are they ahead of the curve or mere sheep?
Analysts appear to be ahead of the curve. Whereas there is still a clear relationship between their uptake on news/growth they still seem to be slightly in front of the trend.
Why is this important?
It is an analysts job to understand technology trends. Obviously sometimes they get it wrong but if they get it right and predict that we should be using product x as it will be the next big thing – then, I will use it too. Our role as communication professionals is to engage with our key audiences no matter where they have these discussions.
The recommendation I would make is that we continue to monitor what the analysts predict are the major changes in how people use social media. There is a great advantage in being an early adopter of a product – such as being a trusted participant. Whereas we do not have time to try and test every new solution, there is lot to be said by watching analyst behaviour – if they are using a new solution then maybe we should too. Maybe we should be taking Jeremiah’s advice and look to get ahead in the areas of social colonization, context and commerce.
Jonny Bentwood (@JonnyBentwood)