Twitter Explosion


Well its SxSWi time again, and the usual suspects have descended on Austin, Texas (USA). It’s all over Twitter, Flickr, and the blogosphere already (as I watch from the sidelines). The guys from Twitter are making a big splash this year, to the point that the Twitter has been ramped up dramatically. I suspect the downtime for Twitter the other day was more on the network realign and increase in resources front than streamlining of the application. The statistics on Twitter are just amazing on the explosion of its use.

The new takeup

It seems that Twitter has now (a year later) been discovered by the A-listers. Who are amazed at the number of followers that they can attract, this almost becomes a sick pissing contest of these people comparing their fan bases.

It is a little sad in the way the A-listers have just found Twitter, like it didn’t exist before they graced the digital halls of twitterville. And the really amazing thing is how slow some of them are at picking up the technology. This begs the question; are we (as a collective group) ahead of the A-listers in the adoption and use of technology and the application of it. Are they now out of the loop. Guess it comes down to who the A-listers really are.

The A-listers can be seen as different people to different folks. To a web industry noob it maybe someone like Molly E. Holzschlag, Eric Meyer or Jeffery Zeldman (which makes me laugh), some of the more techie inclined would say Jason Calacanis or maybe a some web media celebrity. Then if you are from the old school you may say Tim Berners-Lee (et al). This still makes me laugh, the entire concept of an A-List, that these people are better than others. Frankly they have decided to live in the limelight with a high profile, that’s fine, does it make them any more talented than anyone else focused on the web. No of course not.

Twitter developments

Other interesting development in the land of Twitter, there is now a Google Maps / Twitter mashup called running off the public time line from eBiquity. And for SxSWi there is collective Flash application SxSW Twitter, focusing mainly on SxSWi (thanks for the heads up John Dowdell), I suspect this is running on large screen on a wall somewhere at SxSWi.

Why follow?

This does bring up a good point why do people follow others (on Twitter) that they don’t know, or at least haven’t met in person at one point or another.

I guess it really comes down to a basic voyeuristic desire to find out what the person is like. Or they are just following the acquaintances of friends to get the bigger picture when their friends are conversing, commenting on the others tweets. You know a side issue, Twitter really needs a Microformats XFN system on it.

Or maybe it’s a desire to make contact, to just extend their own network or contacts, and the bright lights are seen as an easy attraction. To build on a community of people be it virtual or real life.

Mind you in many cases the projected persona via things like Twitter, Flickr or any other social networking online community can be seen to be just as manufactured as ever. This will of course depend on the person and their degree of privacy or ego etc.

Yeah I know there are has been a stack written on this subject of “modern pop-hero worship”. Do we extend the same studies to the new “Web Rock Gods” (and I use that term loosely with a degree of sarcasm) or not?

Photo credit: hellomike.

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