I was on Twitter and my eye caught a retweet of Steve Rubel tweeting about an Advertising Age article: Who Says Everything Has To Be Monetized? (Marketers Use Communication Machine Twitter to Engage Consumers With Their Human Side). The article spotlights various ways brands are using Twitter: as a "virtual information booth" (Jet Blue), a "quasi helpline" (Comcast), a "multipurpose communication machine" (Southwest Air), and a way to "give fans a peek behind the curtain" (NBA). For someone keenly interested in the way businesses communicate with consumers, this is exciting stuff. Noting Twitter's exponentially growing popularity, AdAge writer Michael Learmonth asks:
.... is it time to call the top, or double-down on Twitter?
One marketing guru, who was one of the few to actually start using Twitter, is going with the former approach. Once, Twitter's top 10 was a who's who of geek royalty; now, Edelman Digital Senior-VP Steve Rubel noted, the list looks like an issue of US Magazine.
"Historically, as the geeks go, so goes social media," Mr. Rubel blogged, as SXSWi wrapped for another year. "I believe that the founding fathers and mothers of Twitter -- people who gave the service its wings, will soon tire of it and seek the next shiny object."
Or as some would assert, that means it's just about ripe for the mainstream.
Rubel has been calling for Twitter to lose it's sparkle for some time now, even as it continues to grow like Kudzu. He and fellow geek royal Robert Scoble have found Friendfeed more to their liking, singing its praises to all who will hear (ironic that more would hear them if they spent more time on Twitter). They and other well known early adopters have found their next shiny thing - and will likely find many more - which is great. I've benefitted from the Rubles and Scobles of the world many times. I discovered Twitter, Qik, Brightkite, Utterli and other cutting edge platforms by following the likes of these two. But something has fundamentally changed, and I think Rubel and others are missing it:
We're all geeks now. We're all early adopters now.
So many are now plugged into the 'human information machine' (Twitter) that the next shiny thing is instantaneously discoverable by an army of social media enthusiasts ... large enough and intelligent enough to minimalize the influence of small, founding father squad of geek elite. This army of enthusiasts has decided that they like Twitter very much, thank you. And they know that Twitter, like Facebook and blogs, is an evolving and vibrant communication hub that has cemented itself in the social media landscape.