In earlier posts about the real Twitter, and Monetizing Twitter we discussed how Twitter is different things to different people. We also suggested a few reasons for Twitter's success;
Momentum... There is already a mass. of users on Twitter, so I can easily find Tweeple I know to socialize with.
Open API's... By opening up access for other developers to make useful add-ons, Twitter has made itself the hub in an ecosystem. Not only does the increased functionality attract new users, and new uses for Twitter. These apps. add to the natural viral nature of Twitter by bringing in new users of their own.
Ubiquity... Unlike past communications platforms (Cellphone/Instant Messaging / Email) Twitter is ubiquitous. I can send and receive Tweets whether I am at my PC, on my Cell phone, or even via Instant Messenger (using third party tools).
But do you want to know the REAL hidden reason for Twitter's success? Shhhh, promise you won't tell anyone and I will let you know their secret.
Sure there are business uses for Twitter, I use it to announce new blog posts (many others do as well). But just like social networks in general, with Twitter it's all about the ego. Unlike other social networks however, Twitter magnifies this effect.
I call it the "TweEgo" factor. It is so prominent that there are already tools available to tell you just how popular you are. Twitdir shows you the top 100 Twitterers (most followed). There are also tools to show you just how pathetic (unpopular) you are.
Everyone wants to be popular, and on Twitter it's all about how many people follow you. Most of the Tweeple I follow play in the social networking sandbox...a space I am passionate about. There are Kings and Gods in my network. I follow @Chrisbrogan (he has over 14k followers), I follow @jowyang (Jeremiah has almost 12k followers). I also enjoy the musings of VC's, so I follow @fredwilson ...(Fred Wilson has over 6000 followers, but he follows back very view...good TwitGradr score). Want to follow a superstar? @Kevinrose has over 60k followers!
Now it's not just your TweEgo that makes Twitter a success, it gets even better...and you need to know this for your own business/marketing initiatives;
MEDIA - When you massage someone's ego in the media, you hit homeruns. Just ask @waltmossberg (new to Twitter but already almost 1k followers and no follows). The only thing bigger than Walt Mossberg's ego is the 2 foot long cigar that hangs out of his mouth. I would be shocked if Walt did not review Twitter for his very popular Wall St Journal column over the next few months. When he does, he will see his follower count go up over ten fold overnight! I expect media coverage of Twitter to explode over the next twelve months. This is HOMERUN PR for Twitter and it don't get any better than that!
PS - Make sure you follow me, retweet this post or Digg it! My TweEgo needs to be massaged!