The Last Podcast Opinionated Web 2.0 News and Commentary


28 April 2008 @ 2pm


Who Ever Thought Twitter Was Mainstream?

image Kara Swisher’s article on how few of her (real life) friends use and know about Twitter and FriendFeed has kicked up some dust today.

But to me, the interesting phenomenon here is not if, when, or why Twitter will go mainstream, but why so many people are even surprised that Twitter is not a mainstream application.

This is such a standard phenomenon on the Internet, I’m surprised nobody has come up with a catchy name for it yet.

Fringe groups (be they early tech adopters, religious zealots of all colors, Ron Paul supporters etc.) always fell into this trap where they got a completely out of whack sense of the size of their own tribe.

Because we tend to talk mostly to people who are very much like ourselves on the net, it is very easy to assume that everybody knows about and needs Twitter, FriendFeed, and SwitchAbit.

About the mainstream adoption: Scoble seems to think that these late adopters will get it sooner or later:

Yeah, Kara Swisher’s friends aren’t on Twitter. Of course they are the same type who would look at you strange back in 1977 if you bought an Apple II for $5,000 like my dad did.

In hindsight, of course, any prediction is easy and only time is going to tell if the same thing is going to happen to Twitter (how is that for a cliché?)

I think Twitter is an application very well suited for a small group of us at this point and will, if ever, see its mainstream success once it starts emphasizing its roots as a mobile app for group messaging.

For most other people, having this constant, streaming chat-room on their desktop with constant updates is just a distraction they have little use for.