I recently was talking to a friend who I consider to be successful on Twitter: he has cracked 10,000 followers in a few months, tweets regularly, and his tweets regularly get picked up (retweeted) and cause a stir.
From his perspective, he’s a long way from the top of the Twitter foodchain, where people have hundreds of thousands of followers and are gaining 5,000+ followers a day (apparently @Oprah just tweeted for the first time this week…how psyched is Evan Williams?)
When networks of relationship are created, they are self-reinforcing, giving real power to early movers who establish themselves (who are in a different category than folks like Oprah who bring their fame to the table so are basically impossible to compete with…she joined 10 hours ago, has tweeted 6 times, and has 195,654 followers right now). This is why it’s incredibly difficult to jump from one circle to the next (100-1,000 followers vs. 1,000 to 10,000 vs. 10,000 to 100,000).
In terms of size of network, Facebook is already in its own category (more than 200 million users!). Twitter is still new enough (just) that you have a couple weeks left to join before you’re too late (heck, you can even start by following @sashadichter).
And if microblogging is the next big online trend, what does this mean for blogs, whose traffic isn’t growing as quickly?
Here’s my take: microblogging will be good for serious bloggers. Yes, there will be a migration of “here’s what I was thinking” from blogs to Twitter/Facebook (the blogs that were just about people’s daily activities make more sense on Twitter/Facebook).
But if you consider this spectrum from microblogging to blogging to newspapers/news weeklies, the question to ask is: 5 years from now, after most of the weekly news magazines have gone out of businesses and many major local papers go belly-up, will there be more or less appetite for thoughtful, analytical, 400-500 word opinion pieces on what is going on in the world?
I think more, and I think bloggers who up their game, who serve a need for a loyal and growing group of followers, will be more in demand, not less, in the near future.
(Oh, and if you really want to be an early adopter, now’s the time to check on Flutter, the leading nanoblogging site. You heard it here first. Click below)
P.S. note the moment in time: “blogging” and “blogger” are both in my spellcheck. “Microblogging” isn’t.