Businessweek Archives

Twitter's long sleepy tail


Just back from a long weekend, I read on Mitch Joel’s blog that Twitter has millions of “users” who signed up for the service and haven’t done anything on it yet.

Well, I guess it’s a problem if you spend $9.97 for 1,000 followers, and you land a pack of zombies. But for people who actually use Twitter, it makes absolutely no difference. What counts are the intelligence and information coursing through the network, not the potential for more that’s still sitting it out. If you get one good idea from one follower on Twitter, the numbers are beside the point.

I remember facing similar questions when Heather and I were working on our blog cover four years ago. Here’s what we wrote, which I think also applies to Twitter:

First, a few numbers. There are some 9 million blogs out there, with 40,000 new ones popping up each day. Some discuss poetry, others constitutional law. And, yes, many are plain silly. “Mommy tells me it may rain today. Oh Yucky Dee Doo,” reads one April Posting. Let’s assume that 99.9% are equally off point. So what? That leaves some 40 new ones every day that could be talking about your business, engaging your employees, or leaking those merger discussions you thought were hush-hush.

(Incidentally, I’ll be taping a little video this afternoon to embed in that old story, which still gets lots of traffic. I’ll post the script a bit later.)


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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