Twitter and the everyday user

There are two kinds of people on Twitter: those who use it as a platform for status updates and those who see the “hidden culture” behind Twitter. Those who use it as a channel for status updates will Twitter about their morning coffee or going to the mall. Those who understand the culture of Twitter do much more- engage, share, network and solidify their online relationships with offline meetings. It should be noted that at this point, surveys have shown that most people on Twitter are early-adopters or tech-savvy. Though we keep hearing about Twitter in mainstream publications, it is not nearly as popular as other social networking sites like Facebook or even Myspace.

Most of the people I know are very intelligent and educated but they are not early-adopters of technology or social networks by any means. Whenever Twitter enters a conversation, the most common question I hear is, “wait… so Twitter is just status updates like Facebook and that’s it right?”

Based on all these conversations and observing the intersection of the mainstream users and the early adopters on Twitter, I am starting to wonder whether or not Twitter will bring enough value or content to the everyday user. Status updates (a la Facebook) and news feeds from mainstream channels like CNN can be interesting but are they enough to sustain an entire social network? Are these basic uses enough to monetize? Will mainstream users adopt the Twitter culture? My gut reaction says the everyday, average user will answer Twitter’s prompt “what are you doing”, very literally. And that the only thing that will keep Twitter running is the sheer fact that Facebook will eventually jump the shark and people will want a new social network to play on.

However, I’ve been wrong before, though that has never stopped me from musing.

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