Twitter is all about being viral. It’s about what is hot and trending at the moment. It is a way to get news before other media outlets can get it to you. It’s the new wave of media, right?
Well, according to a study from MIT as reported by 10,000 Words, Twitter is most likely to want to thank the media for fueling its growth while it’s trying to speed traditional media’s demise. The video below depicts the spread of Twitter usage over its existence and the major growth coincides with media coverage and old school networking principles based on tracking of news through Google Insights for Search. The video below depicts this growth.
What makes this study most interesting is that it’s not like everyone suddenly knew about Twitter simply because it existed. Twitter needed more traditional boosts in popularity like CNN and Ashton Kutcher’s race to 1 million and, God forbid, Oprah’s “acceptance” of the service as a viable communications option. After that is was based on socioeconomic and geographic varibales which indicate the start of good ol’ fashioned world of mouth helping spread the word in the US.
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This is an important lesson for marketers to consider. Of course, now that Twitter and other social networks have grown and people are adjusting to them more it is still critical to remember that a lot of very real and important communication happens the way it always has, by word of mouth. This is incredibly valuable because of the much higher rate of importance placed on information received directly from a trusted friend versus the blind acceptance of data coming through a larger but often less personal social network.
Maybe 2012 could be the year of balance? Instead of either social media or old school media it will be better seen as social media AND all the rest. Now that would be powerful, don’t ya think?