Twitter IS mainstream. Please move on…

I think it’s time for anyone writing about Twitter to realise and accept that the endless debate about becoming mainstream has become redundant – it’s mainstream, please accept it, move on, and let’s talk about something else!

There are 2,360,000 Google results for ‘Twitter + mainstream’, and 144,000 for ‘curing + illness’. Make of that what you will!

@SarahM‘s post for O’Reilly, isn’t a bad post, but the two examples against accepting Twitter as mainstream did start me thinking.

The reasons for Twitter not making televised Superbowl coverage were probably the scale of the televised coverage of the event, and gaining media passes/internet connections etc to moderate a live feed for broadcast – I’ve only ever covered much smaller events, but the manpower required can be surprising, and it can be a battle to get enough staff access.

Meanwhile the lack of TV adverts carrying Twitter ids isn’t surprising – most companies will see their main website as the hub of their activity and will want to keep the list of web address down to one simple name to remember – not supply details of the website, the Facebook page, the Myspace page, the Twitter account and the Get Satisfaction page! Being UK-based, there may be TV adverts promoting Facebook pages in the U.S, but I haven’t seen any yet…

But for mainstream, I’d state the following:

CNN and BBC cite Twitter for Mumbai updates.

@wossy and @stephenfry discuss Twitter on the BBC. @schofe discusses Twitter on ITV.

The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Washington PostUSA Today, LA Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Channel 4, The Guardian, New York Times, New Scientist, The Independent.

All in the last 2 or 3 days, and just the most mainstream titles I saw in a quick Google News search.


On Something for the Weekend, Working Lunch, On Jonathan Ross, This Morning, Channel 4 news. (I didn’t do the U.S TV channels because I have no way to tell which ones are more notable than others, and didn’t want to try and list every single use, but here’s CNN for some balance.

And of course – Twestival‘s 140+ global events (with LiveEarth as broadcast and video partner!)

And to finish off –

‘If you want to know what technology will change the world, watch young mothers…and don’t watch teenage boys – young mothers have no time for any technology that isn’t useful and doesn’t work.’

Clay Shirky in 2005, via Broadstuff.

So – Twittermoms.

Can I stop yet?

No it hasn’t got the scale of TV, print media or Facebook – yet. But it’s never been about scale for anyone except those wanting eyeballs for the same old display adverts.

But social networks are built for exponential growth (in theory, if not in scalability of the backend!). And after growing 974% in 2008 (Hitwise) it’s not going to slow down now. I’m seeing more and more non-technical friends and family appearing, just as happened with Facebook – and more and more people asking me questions without trying to hide the shame of using a silly-sounding word like ‘twitter’.

So can we all accept it’s not going to get any smaller, and it’s reached the mainstream now. In a bit of time the audience will be in a similar range to the biggest social networks of the moment, and we’ll be discussing something new – maybe nano-blogging!


  1. @briancarter RT’d your fine post 🙂

    I’ve not yet seen TV ads in the US promote Facebook pages. For one thing, FB Business Pages are kind of lame. Secondly, FB itself offers a cheap, effective ad space.

    • Cheers for the comment, and I’m appreciating some of the very kind people ReTweeting – seems I’m not alone!

      I think there’s a huge value in using Facebook and Twitter for businesses to e where people might want to find them, converse and interact and even purchase with them – but I can’t imagine any case at the moment where the business would rather send them to Twitter or Facebook first, rather than their own website. You’d hope the main website would have more information, and also be accessibly for conversation and interaction – or it should be sorted before getting on the social networks.

  2. It’s remarkable how the best thoughts all seem common knowledge once someone actually articulates them. But people are still jabbering on about blogs like they’re underground, so I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for people to stop talking about Twitter.


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