The Growing Numbers and Effect of Twitter

Twitter's logoTwitter has exploded over the past year.  Earlier this year there was talk about membership growing some 400+ percent over 12 months.  More recently it’s been calculated at over 1300 percent (via Mashable).  Shaq is no longer the lone celebrity and Jimmy Fallon has integrated Twitter into his new late night show ultimately introducing millions of viewers to the service.  Soon Oprah just joined the twiterverse on her show with Ashton Kutcher, whom just hit a million followers.  Along with Twitter’s numbers exploding so has power/influence of a Tweet.

Here’s a quick list of some of the

  • January 15th, 2009 – a plane crash landed in to the Hudson River.  Before the news networks or other media outlet could get images, Janis Krums‘s was sending out a photo of the floating plane via Twitter.  From there it spread like a virus till his photo was viewed thousands of times.  Soon the story of his twet was almost as big as the crash itself (WSJ).
  • Twitter’s community is a way for bands to connect with their fans.  With the Internet providing a way to distribute the music, Twitter is providing the marketing platform and a way to connect with fans.  Amanda Palmer explains how she uses Twitter as her primary way to market her music, sets up places to stay on her tours and stay connected with her fans. (link cred: @trent_reznor)
  • A few weeks back Mac Heist was offering their latest bundle of applications.  Part of their promo was that additional applications would be made available based on how many bundles they sold.  They also offered an additional app if you tweeted their message.  I had at least 6 friends and a number of others I follow take them up on their tweet deal.  I was interested in one of the apps, but it was one that was locked until they reached their final milestone.   Again it was a tweet that informed me that the milestone was reached.
  • Even classic literature is getting the Twitter touch, Homer’s The Odyssey

Janis Krums’s photo
Amanda Palmer’s email
Homer’s The Odyssey

Events Social

Refresh Philly: April 2009

Refresh Philly: AprilFor April, Refresh is going out on the town.  They’re taking the meeting down to National Mechanics for a socially focused happy hour.  So bring your ideas on how we can improve Philadelphia via the talent, skills and technology that Refresh community has to offer.  It’s also a great way to meet some of the other members.


There is no RSVP needed for this event.  Still you’re free to let the world know you’re coming…and bring a friend.


Between meetings check out Refresh Philly’s website and join in the conversation.

Personal Social Thoughts

Why all the mind games?

I just ran into someone I know from the neighborhood.  He’s recently single and tends to bemoan women and the mind games they play.  Ironically, when he heard that I was also single he began to offer suggestions of various mind games for me to use, either to win her back or just mess with her head.  It’s clear that it’s not just women that play these game, he’s a clear example of a male that partakes in the subtle attacks to an ex’s psyche.  This irony along with how much this playing of mind games contrasts to my view got me thinking about the subject.

For all those that do play these games I ask Why?  If you didn’t work as a couple, why shouldn’t your ex pursue something that could make them happy?  If you really cared for them, why can’t you be happy for them when they do things to be happy?  Do you really think it has some reflection on you or their feelings for you?  Is it just self pity?  Does suggesting that your new love is everything, or implying they (your ex) weren’t really help you feel more secure in your new relationship? Or are you trying to convince yourself that you’ve moved on?

I know I’ve had ex’s try this crap with me.  I don’t know if they got what they wanted out of it, but I do know the games never made me want them more (or want to get back together).  Yeah, they may have gotten me riled up for a bit with a mixture of confusion to their purpose and agitation caused by the amplified echo of the problems we had during the relationship.  Either way the games never brought me closer, at least not when I was aware that games were being played.  If anything, I think it cemented that I was better off not being in a relationship with them.

As mentioned, I’m currently single and this isn’t the first time I’ve been single either.  Unknowingly I may be  guilty of doing some of these things myself, and if so I apologize, but I can say in good conscience that I never meant to.  For one thing, I don’t really see the point to them.  Secondly, it may be because I believed my ex’s actually did care for me (read: loved) and I didn’t feel the need for the reassurance one may be looking for when playing these games.  In the more casual relationships, their love/approval etc. wasn’t relevant to my well being.  I’ve also tried to make sure this wasn’t a question that would haunt them either.

According to some, mind games are an essential part of relationships.  Suggestions of “playing hard to get” fill magazines, and though that may lure a date or two, a relationship it does not make.  At the early stages of a relationship the stakes are low, and such games have more to do with catching the other’s attentions.  The games people play at the end of a relationship, sadly, often have more to do with hurting the partner then the cutesy ones used at the beginning.  It’s these latter ones that my neighbor was suggesting and I can only assume using himself.  It’s these I don’t understand.

Social Thoughts

There are no free lunches

One of the first thing you learn in Economics is “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” It’s a lesson that seems to be quickly forgotten. Thanks to the Internet everything seems like it can and should be free. So who’s paying?

For many sites, ad revenue is paying for the content/service being provided. Even more profitable is information, specifically user (read: your) information. The old saying that knowledge is power holds true online as well. The more info about who you are the more relevant they can target the ads presented to you. A better targeted ads bring in higher revenues.

Combining multiple user’s data into anonymous and general statistical data can be worth even more. Marketing companies will pay big money to get access to qualified demographical date. It doesn’t have to be much or even private. Knowing things like how many 11-14yr olds saw the Transformers movie, could be the deciding factor between releasing Product X or Product Y. The collecting and selling of statistical data is nothing new. It’s the same principle behind the membership cards at the grocery store, VISA and those people at the mall that just want to ask you a few questions.

Facebook like many other social networking sites are rich with statistical information. Well, a few weeks ago Facebook altered their Terms of Service (TOS) to assume permanent ownership rights of any content that the users add to their service. Then yesterday, under mass protest from users, they returned to their previous TOS while they rework the verbiage. Ultimately Facebook (and others) wants the ability to use/sell any data collected without worry of legal entanglements. Someone needs to pay for the endless hours users spend using their site.

Just like your first economics class told you, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The Internet with all it’s innovations is still subject to this rule. The free ride of the social web is paid for by the ads we see and the personal data we provide. It’s just something to keep in mind while you enjoy your lunch.