From the desks of the 104 West team...
Ever since the Fonz foreshadowed the demise of the 1970s TV hit Happy Days by donning a pair of water-skis and jumping over a shark in a leather jacket and all too tight swim trunks, the concept that an idea or person or thing has over-extended itself has been deemed “Jumping the Shark.” (Ok, for some of you, it may be before your time – quick YouTube clip to catch you up.) You can almost hear Garry Marshall and Jerry Paris (the show’s producer and director) sitting around a table saying, ‘hey I’ve got an idea….’ And you just know that all the good ideas had been exasperated and the end was inevitable.
With all the exposure, the celebrity tweets, the local newscasters pining for new followers, you wonder if somewhere in the not too distant past, did Twitter jump the shark?
Interest in Twitter has escalated at a fever pitch in the past few months. We remember reading about Twitter on the front page of CNN.com on March 31st and remarking about what it meant for Twitter and its mainstream adoption. Fast-forward a month: Ashton Kutcher, the former star of “That 70s Show” (there’s shark-jumping-Fonzie water-skiing irony in there somewhere) and CNN staged a follower-generating contest, Oprah (that’s right, Oprah!) started Tweeting live on her show, and celebrities like Shaq and Britney Spears have incomprehensible follower numbers. Seemingly, overnight, Hollywood and pro athletes are overshadowing the early celebrities of the service – tech stars like Robert Scoble.
We don’t know how many users Twitter has acquired since that CNN piece last month but it has the trappings of a fad -- this week we learned 60 percent of users stop tweeting after one month. Here at 104 West, we’ve been discussing whether all of this buzz and media interest can translate into real usage by real mainstream audiences. Can you equate media interest with usage patterns? As PR professionals, we hope so, but none of our parents, few of our spouses and not many of our friends outside tech are tweeting, even though most of them have heard of Twitter. In Twitter’s case, the echo chamber seems to be reverberating violently, evidenced dramatically by today’s disturbing news from Silicon Alley Insider -- it seems that people are doing press releases about who has decided to follow them on Twitter!
What do you think? Is Twitter just “inside baseball” – for those who love all things techy or new? Is the hype around Twitter helping it move forward and pushing it to a better format or model? Will it remain in its current form or change out of necessity; or has this most recent spurt of interest created an environment where Twitter may be on its way to “jumping the shark”.
We want to hear what you think…Excuse me, Richie Cunningham just started following us…gotta tweet…