Twitter was once so useful to us. Now that all the celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon, Twitter will die. The party’s over. This is what the latest mantra among a bulk of the Twitterati seems to be these days. This line of reasoning may make sense for many other web services, but not for Twitter.
Long before Twitter became a mainstream buzzword, the Twitter stream was already jammed with social media ‘experts’ who told everybody else how to use Twitter. The good leaders among them helped spur Twitter’s use and eventual popularity. All of the talk about Twitter on Twitter could have killed Twitter, but it didn’t.
But many of the same bloggers who practically pleaded with the world to “start listening” and “joining the conversation” are now reviled or wigged out by the rising popularity of services like Twitter. Does this make any sense? Inasmuch as I understand what celebrity-status can do to (or for) Twitter, I think much of this latest bitch-festing falls under the category of “WTF?!”.
Of course celebrities with millions of followers can’t follow-back meaningfully. Of course they won’t be able to interact with every single fan all the time. That doesn’t mean they can’t use it creatively. Why wouldn’t they use Twitter? It’s as much their right as it for Scoble or you or me. I want Kelso to raise money for Malaria (even if it’s a PR gimmick). I want Brad Pitt tweeting about poverty (well, maybe not tweet as much as lead). I want the Martin Luther King’s of the world to tweet, even if they can’t possibly follow everyone back. I want famous peeps to be remarkable in ways they couldn’t via traditional media. They can’t be if we don’t let them.
What, pray tell, is the point of services like Twitter if they’re only used by the Geek Squaderati? The whole point of Twitter is for it to become popular (at least from the aspect of its public crowd-sourcing potential).
How Twitter Can Make It
Twitter’s open API is its salvation: for all of the third-party clients that have been developed, we still haven’t seen the best of them. Applications for Enterprise, for instance, have yet to realize their full potential.
Will Twitter’s popularity bring more noise and misguided marketing tactics? Surely. That’s where third-party clients come into play. Filtering is another tool.
As long as creative and innovative clients and features continue to evolve around Twitter, the service will only get better and more relevant. As users realize the utility of micro-sharing, other custom-built “Twitters” will likely spring up too.
Use Twitter, Don’t Let It Use You
So forget about Kelso and Oprah if they bother your “purists” sensibilities (but pay attention to Shaq, ‘cuz his tweets are hilarious). Twitter offers celebrities and news organizations tons of opportunities to be remarkable – and it’s up to the rest of us to help guide them in the right direction (unfollow can be a strong signal).
The Beatles didn’t start sucking because they became famous. And if they did, nobody had to buy their records.
Let’s start building creative applications for Twitter.
Let’s start using micro-sharing technology in health care.
Let’s start building good stuff like clinical trial applications that connect sick people with the right Pharma organizations.
Let’s start leading tribes of philanthropy using Twitter to make the lives of others less painful and more wonderful.
In short, let’s exploit Twitter’s popularity, not whine about its well-earned popularity.
We got what we wanted. Now let’s deal with it.