Twitter’s Real Power = Influence

No one is hotter than me, except for maybe like Twitter.

"No one is hotter than me, except for maybe like Twitter."

Twitter continues to be hot.  It wracked up more than 5 million new users in March, according to ComScore Media Metrix. The total number of users is on the verge of crossing 20 million (although figuring out the true number of users is difficult because so many people access the platform through desktop and mobile applications rather than through Twitter’s web site).

Twitter’s even got Oprah (although she’s not exactly burning up the service with less than 30 tweets in about three weeks).

But the real power in Twitter isn’t its user base.  It’s its influence – especially with other social media platforms.  Twitter’s interface and the concept of fast, concise, searchable information constantly being updated has tipped technology on its head.

Just look at the power of Twitter’s influence on other social media platforms:

  • Facebook – the kingpin of social media with more than 200 million users – redesigned its interface in March because of Twitter.  As PC World noted at the time: “Facebook has redesigned its layout (second time in under a year), in order to better compete with upcoming popular real-time microblogging services like Twitter.”  The Facebook redesign alienated many users and 1.7 million people have signed a petition for the platform to return to its old display – but don’t hold your breath for Facebook to switch back.  It has seen the future and it looks a lot like Twitter.
  • Last week, FriendFeed (which may have the dumbest name in social media) changed its interface – into a real-time flow.  There’s been lots of discussion about the value of real-time and whether Facebook will eventually follow suit, but gone almost unnoticed was the primary reason FriendFeed went to real-time (and changed its interface as well).  It was because of Twitter.  FriendFeed, which has been losing out to Twitter from the beginning, is trying to out Twitter Twitter.
  • Tumblr has become the Twitter of blogging.  Unlike Twitter, Tumblr let’s people post anything – videos, photos, etc.  But the concept behind the service is a hybrid of a blog and a Twitter account.  It’s fast, furious and feels like Twitter.  The company is still small – and only two years old – but Tumblr is showing some real promise (the company has nearly one million subscribers and bears watching).
  • One can argue that Digg launched its new toolbar – the Diggbar – last month because of pressure from Twitter.  Digg’s bread and butter is in people sharing content and a lot of that sharing shifted over to Twitter.  One of the best features on the Diggbar is that it makes it easy to share content on Twitter (almost like an app for Twitter users – although I’m sure Digg would argue otherwise) – and provides a handy URL shortener as well.

The greatest and lasting legacy of Twitter may be the way it has changed how we interact with each other and with information.

3 Responses to “Twitter’s Real Power = Influence”

  1. Interesting facts on Twitter. I have been using Twitter for a few months and have made some great new friends.


  1. Twitter Today: May 5, 2009 | kenneth lim . net - May 5, 2009

    […] Twitter’s real power is influence (Via: @stejules) […]

  2. DesignNotes by Michael Surtees » Blog Archive » Link Drop (5·08·09) - May 10, 2009

    […] Twitter’s Real Power = Influence My obligatory post about twitter doing something. […]

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