2009 is Twitter’s year already


We’re not yet a quarter of the way into 2009 but already it’s clear that, if 2008 was Facebook‘s year, 2009 is Twitter‘s.

In January 2009 Twitter saw a 10-fold traffic increase in the UK over the previous year, and this was before Jonathan Ross announced it on his Friday night show and Phillip Schofield talked about it on GMTV.

In the US the social media phenomenon has just hit the mainstream, as Jon Stewart’s piece on the Daily Show demonstrates (see video below) and the same is happening here in the UK.

Given that Twitter users are also Facebook users, could this be the start of a move away from Facebook?

Facebook still has a vast lead in terms of unique users and continues to grow rapidly. But look back to over a year ago and the same was being said of MySpace, the previous leader.

It’s clear that, despite high engagement, loyalty is fragile in the social networking space.

Nevertheless, I don’t think Twitter will disrupt Facebook’s position, as they both fulfil different social functions.

Facebook is about personal identity, a place where friends can share photographs and videos and keep in touch with each other’s lives.

Twitter is more of a micro-blogging tool and virtual water cooler.

Not that Facebook isn’t responding dramatically. Despite last year’s failed takeover of Twitter, Facebook is continuing to pursue aggressive growth, and the new real-time format that it’s launching right now has more than a whiff of Twitter-style functionality about it.

Finally it’s worth noting that the continual adoption of new social tools can’t go on indefinitely. I currently manage a range of online social tools for various aspects of my life, and while they all have their uses it’s getting close to the limit for me. It’s getting to the point where I’d have to ditch one to adopt another.