Monday, February 23, 2009
For those of you who don't know: I don't own a TV. I used to make films and documentaries, radio shows and taught girls younger than me about media and using it to tell their own stories. After all that dissection of the media, I really don't feel like watching TV, instead, I'm on the Internet most of my waking moments during the day. (Incidentally, my mentor's name is News Dissector.) But I like movies, and ya, I miss shows like CSI, Brothers and Sisters, and stuff on HBO. With Twitter, you don't really feel you're missing the action. I wrote about Twitter citizen journalism a while ago about the Mumbai blasts.
Case in point: Oscars. The word "Oscar" started trending since Friday but at the bottom. Now, we've tried this before, it doesn't take much for a word to start trending in Twitter. You need about 10 to 15 tweeple tweeting constantly with the same hash tag or specified keyword. You can check out the trending 10 topics on twitter by going to: http://search.twitter.com/ (I can't wait until the search is improved.) It's a pretty useful nifty tool if you like tracking trends. Keeping the word in the top 10 list however require a bit of critical mass. You need a lot of folks to be talking about the topic with that keyword as a hash tag or with the word in the tweet. You can't have a big time lag between tweets either. Sure enough, Oscar slowly rose the top 10 list and became #1 when the real red carpet action started. It's because everyone's watching and they're tweeting about it.
Best thing about twitter trends? It's real time, it taps into the collective stream of conscious of tweeple. It's a pretty good sample/focus group if you believe what Pew Internet research said, that one in ten Americans tweet. It happens in the now, it's not like Google Trends, or Yahoo Buzz, even those have time lag. If you want an overview analysis of trends over a period of time, check out Word Tracker.
With all said and done though, if you're thinking of Internet marketing or viral marketing don't forget to keep Twitter in your marketing plan(s). Twitter has the potential to become a great viral marketing vehicle -- if you know what you're doing.
Update: If you like tracking trends make sure you check out http://surchur.com/ It gives you all the trending topics on one page. Neat site, I just found it.
Photo by videocrab