And by tweet I am referring to the ubiquitous social networking site Twitter. With so many social networking sites to choose from, (Bookface, Myspace, LinkedIn, blah, blah, blah) I didn’t quite grasp tweeting. About two months ago, I figured that I was pretty much the only person NOT on Twitter, so I joined.
You can follow me at http://www.twitter.com/njbrideau. I started using the service as a way to track all the funny foods our cat ate. Then I forgot about it for a while, and when I wanted to add peanut butter to the list, I found out that the messages are frequently purged from their servers. Truthfully, even though I consider myself an early adopter of technology related items, I still do not understand Twitter.
I have managed to find twitter feeds for many athletes, celebrities, news channels, writers, and friends, and their posts serve to create a nice distraction now and again from my daily routine. It must be a big deal, which is why Facebook changed their system to include “news feed” a while back, and why Google trotted out the failed “Google Buzz” tool recently. Even Mark Cuban, a man who has made a fortune on internet and technology related businesses, loves the potential news sharing aspect of Twitter.
So does it work for news? Last week I decided to find out.
Unless you were living under a rock last week, you know that Tiger Woods spoke to a close group of friends (and anyone within reach of a TV or computer) for the first time since his Thanksgiving adventure. Regardless of you opinion of the man or his actions you have to admit, this was a huge story. To quote one of my favorite sports writers Bill Simmons: “There isn’t another athlete — not one — who could have made the world stop from 11 to 11:15 like Tiger Woods did.”
I believe one of the major reasons this story became so big was because of the internet and social networking sites like Twitter. Imagine if OJ Simpson had done what he did today? The internet might have exploded. So to test my theory, I decided to type “Tiger” into the search box of Twitter during his speech, and find out what happened.
What happened is beyond what I expected. I typed in “Tiger” and a list of other people’s tweets popped up below. Then I got the notice you see above, that 1,342 more tweets had occurred since I started searching — just 30 seconds earlier. During the middle of his speech, I would estimate the tweets with the term “tiger” at ~4000 per minute, or 66 per second.
Are other of the so-called trending topics on twitter this popular. Probably. What does it mean? I have no idea. Most of my tweets are just duplicates of my facebook status. Anyone else use Twitter? What are your opinions? What are your call signs/names?