In the past three and a half years, Twitter has successfully left behind its humble beginning as a micro-blogging platform to evolve into a social media phenomenon that has captured the imagination of almost half the world’s population. I don’t know who is more surprised at the turn of events, the Twitter creators, Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams (who, it appears, are still a little clueless as to how to milk this cash cow of theirs) or the social media experts who wrote it off as a passing fad. Last year, Twitter’s rise was so meteoric that it caused the reigning social-media darling that is Facebook to break the tenth Commandment – “Thou shall not covet”, because, Facebook coveted Twitter. Big time! But that’s a post for another time.
Today, I’d like to talk about how practically the whole world is cashing in on the popularity of Twitter, though the site itself is yet to monetize the ginormous amount of traffic it receives – according to Compete, over 23 million unique visitors in September 09! (No, I can’t get over it.) Though I’d like to, it would be quite a challenge to cite all the different ways in which the world is using Twitter and still write a 1000 words post. So, I have found seven very illuminating instances I must share with you. They are not necessarily about people making money off Twitter, though there are a couple about that as well, what they have in common is the way they all illustrate how powerful a resonance Twitter has found with the Everyman. Okay, I’ll amend that to the net-surfing Everyman.
1. The first story has Demi Moore in it. Before you get any ideas, no, it’s not about Ashton Kutcher! Honestly, it’s a little scary and sad, but also a little amazing at the same time. Last April, Demi Moore a.k.a @mrskutcher was instrumental in saving the life of a suicidal woman. The woman, @sandieguy, tweeted her suicide note, with one particular tweet directed at @mrskutcher. It said, “@mrskutcher getting a knife, a big one that is sharp. Going to cut my arm down the whole arm so it doesn’t waste time”. Moore happened to catch the tweet and her timely retweet set off a flurry of retweets amongst her followers and caused the police to track down the woman, who was, thank god, found unharmed. Talk about saved in the nick of time!
2. Next, let’s learn how we can generate traffic (and possibly revenue) via Twitter, let’s take a page out of BBGeeks.com’s site – where you can find information on all things BlackBerry and buy apps and accessories for the smartphone. Like any self-respecting site, they wanted to explore new avenues to drive traffic to their site, and Twitter was as new an avenue as it got. So, they decided to set up a Twitter account in the hope of capitalizing on the new Twitter wave that the cybersphere was (and has been) experiencing. Though initially they weren’t very successful in finding many followers, a well-guided change in their approach rectified that. In their second attempt, they had one of their staff dedicated to the management of their Twitter profile and positioned him as a ‘BlackBerry troubleshooter’ who could actually help their followers and not merely push (their) links. The second time is the charm, because in less than two years they have gone from having just 100 followers to having over 23000 followers and according to a recent case study (the numbers were kept confidential), their Twitter traffic converts are higher than that of any other social network they have tracked. The occasional “Twitter only” discounts at their software and accessories store must have nicely contributed to that. Nice work, BBGeeks, that’s all I can say.