Last night, I watched Fareed Zakaria’s interview with Bill and Melinda Gates where I heard for the first time an often-quoted quote by Peter Thiel, “we wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”
This morning, while scanning the news, I came across a brief article on CNN about Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO, who tweeted overnight that he had fractured his collarbone from a skiing trip. His tweet garnered him expressions of support from 1.4 million followers.
The CNN article itself was short (although not short enough) – perhaps an attempt to mirror a tweet?
I have taken both as a sign that it might be time to start paying attention to Twitter. You see, I don’t tweet – I don’t “get” Twitter. I remember when it was rising in popularity – when friends started Twitter accounts or the huge buzz when celebrities such as Oprah joined the Twitter world. Now, it apparently has 310,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors which is second to Facebook’s 900,000,000.
The Pew Research report offers the following insight: 23% of adult internet users and 19% of entire adult population use Twitter. It is popular among those under 50 and the college-educated. In 2014, the biggest user by age group is the 18-29 year-olds, followed by the 30-49, 40-64, and finally the 65+. The report also noted that Twitter, like LinkedIn, is becoming male-centric.
Why tweet? Here’s a few:
- Breaking News – most users get their news from the site; a few retweets and the news spread
- Tracking Trends/ Research – lets us know what others are thinking, reading, and doing
- Promotion – a November and December 2014 study by Edelman showed that Twitter is the most effective marketing platform to promote your business, upcoming events, etc.
- Community – build professional network and praise local business. It represents one of the quickest and easiest ways to contact a company to get instant customer service
- Platform – enables people to showcase one’s thoughts, humor, insights, talents, and hobbies which could fulfill the “higher” needs of friendship, belonging, esteem, and even self-actualization listed on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Which brings me back to Dick Costolo and his tweet. It goes to show that CEOs – maybe especially those of giant social media companies – do have needs (support, respect, and friendship) just like the rest of us.