Twitter mainstream

Quite a bit of commentary in the blogosphere and twittersphere greeted the news that pop icon Britney Spears now has a Twitter account (actually started on October 10).

Known as therealbritney, Spears’ presence on the micro-blogging service is the front end, as it were, of “brand Spears,” run as it seems to be by her marketers as her Twitter bio indicates:

Yes! This is the real Britney Spears! We’ve got updates from her team, her website and yes, even Britney herself!

I don’t know any other celebrities who use Twitter – which must show my disconnect with popular culture as surely there are loads on Twitter – but imagine the possibilities for Twitter if more follow Spears’ example.

As summed up by Michael Arrington:

This is solid gold for Twitter. A few more of these and it will be hard to argue that it isn’t going mainstream.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Sin Trenton

    Well, depends on if we are talking celebs or real celebrities here. ;)
    I always enjoy the tweets from Warren Ellis (), but oh.. maybe he is not really a mainstream celebrity, come to think of it. Still, recommend his comics. And tweets, definitely his tweets.

    Of course we have John Cleese himself in the Twitteriver, as well as on Seesmic, I think. (http://twitter.com/johncleese). Now, that is a celebrity, if any. :)

    Not to mention the number one gadgeteer, our good old Stephen Fry, (http://twitter.com/stephenfry) who is not only twittering, but using Twitpic (http://twitpic.com/photos/stephenfry) as he is part of the filming of “Last Chance to See”.

  2. Dan Light

    Neville – in terms of other Twitter users of reknown, Stephen Fry (@stephenfry)signed up recently. He strikes me as exactly the kind of celeb user Twitter ought to welcome, given his wonderful way with words and proven geek credentials. I also follow tennis pro Andy Murray (@andy_murray), who comes across from his tweets as an incredibly down to earth guy, even as I sit here right now watching him grind out a second Masters tournament win for 2008. And there’s Dave Matthews (@davejmatthews), of the Dave Matthews band.

    What strikes me about all of the above is that I feel completely confident that they tweet for themselves, rather than having a publicist or PA do it for them. That may not be the case for Miss Spears, but even so, it shows that somebody in her camp has their head screwed on.

    I like the new layout btw. I defected from Blogger to WordPress a few weeks ago, and I’m an instant convert. Hope your bid to give up the smokes is also still intact.

  3. neville

    Yes, I knew about Stephen Fry (from Lloyd Davis). I guess I was thinking more of, you know, celebrities like pop singers and film stars.

    I’ve discovered there are some, such as listed in the cynically-named Minor Celebrities list.

    Good differentiation, Sin – celebs or real celebrities. Heh! If we see WAGs on Twitter soon, then we know it’s mainstream :)

    Dan, I agree re self-twittering vs someone else doing it, a point that applies to business twittering too. Just as with blogging and other social communication, authenticity and trust arise with who you believe is communicating actually is.

    Re blog layout, thanks. A refresh rather than a new design. And WordPress makes it so easy with so many people writing terrific quality stuff like themes and plugins. And re smokes, working well – 18 successful days so far!

  4. neville

    I’m not sure Twitter will see any revenue, Rob. Are they actually in revenue-earning or -generating mode yet?

    But what terrific exposure and awareness-raising would result. Priceless!

  5. Rob Safuto

    The question was a loaded one Neville. Because I think Twitter and lots of other Silicon Valley web companies who aren’t in revenue generating mode are in trouble. That group includes the much larger Facebook. A new celebrity user every so often seems to get the folks inside the cocoon excited. But what does it do to turn the service into a viable business? It follows that if Twitter is not a reliable business then relying on it as a tool for business presents an ever increasing risk.

  6. neville

    I guessed as much, Rob ;)

    I like this view yesterday from Silicon Valley Insider on what moves Twitter might make in terms of revenue generation – “Twitter: We’ll Announce Our Secret Business Model Early Next Year.” And Wired’s story a couple of days ago – “Twitter to Get Down to Business in 2009, Investors Say.”

    To your final point, I think it also follows that if Twitter is a reliable business and does present a credible plan, then relying on it as a business communication tool is a balanced risk.

    Of course, everyone including me may be wrong. But what if the positive outlook is the right one?

  7. Rob Safuto

    You may be right Neville. We shall see.

    I do think that Fred Wilson’s comparison of Twitter to Google in the Wired article is very ridiculous. Will elevating Evan Williams to CEO help? Consider that while Evan was instrumental in getting Blogger sold to Google, he has never built a company and sustained it on its own revenues. Remember Odeo?

  8. neville

    Indeed and Fred Wilson has retracted his comment. Or at least said he wished he’d never said it.

    Still, that doesn’t take away a groundswell of glass-half-full thinking about Twitter – almost wherever you look – and is it a sustainable business model. Like everyone seems to be saying, we should have an idea early next year. Or sooner if someone else builds a better widget. Or not, etc.

  9. Rob Safuto

    I just listened to one of your live episodes from a couple of weeks back and you mentioned Yammer. I also saw Yammer mentioned in the NY Times recently. It seems to me that Twitter has had a very good potential business model stolen from right under their noses. Yammer is getting paid $1 per user for corporations who want to use their service and get access to detailed administrative tools. It’s a good idea, and one that the Twitter leadership should have considered long ago.

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