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Twitter hotter than ever

March 19, 2009

twitter_logo_header2There were two interesting stories about Twitter in the news this week. Actually, there were actually dozens of stories about Twitter this week, as there often is, but two in particular stuck out to me (even though I did find the price paid for the Twitter logo to be amusing).

nielsenToday, Nielsen released a survey of the five fastest growing member community destinations. The results of the survey showed that from February 2008 to February 2009 Twitter had grown by 1,382%, which is quite a growth spurt. What surprised me most about the report though was that Twitter counts the 35-to-49 age demographic as its biggest (and other information that is critical to marketers). Personally, I would have thought it to be much younger, perhaps 18-to-25, but then I remember that the first people I knew to use it were indeed between those ages.

The huge amount of press Twitter has gotten in recent months about its lack of a business model has certainly helped contribute to the growth, but so is the ability of users to access Twitter via a computer or a mobile phone.

And tweeting from a mobile phone is exactly what got Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva, or “CV31” as he’s known on Twitter, in the news this week, after it was revealed that he had posted a message to his account on Sunday during halftime against the Celtics.

AP Photo/Morry Gash

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Villanueva tweeted “In da locker room, snuck to post with my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.”

And step up Villanueva did, scoring a team-high 19 points to lead the Bucks to a win. However, coach Scott Skiles was less than amused at the incident, and has since banned Villanueva, or anyone from the team from tweeting again during the game. Skiles says he doesn’t want the team or its players to give the impression that they are not serious and focused at all times during the game.

And while Villanueva says he will honor his coach’s request, he still questions how tweeting during halftime is any different from granting an interview on the way into or out of the locker room.

All the controversy has helped Villanueva nearly quadruple the number of users that follow his account in just over 24 hours. According to ESPN, Villanueva had about 1,600 subscribers as of Tuesday evening and more than 7,700 when I checked on Thursday.  The hype wasn’t quite enough to raise him to the level of “THE_REAL_SHAQ” who has more than 350,000 followers.

Lately, Twitter has constantly been surrounded by a lot of press — from the breaking news events to the bloggers like me, to the ease and ability of everyday people to feel connected to celebrities, Twitter is becoming more and more ingrained in today’s culture.  Now, if only they could figure out a way to make some money.

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