Brent Finnegan -- July 24th, 2009
How do you know when a trend has gone from a subculture secret to a widespread fad?
Riding the tail end of the first wave of Twitter’s popularity — the microblog network “ruled” SxSW 2007 — hburgnews began our Twitter experiment in early March of last year (and added the hashtag eight months later). Since last fall, it’s spread like weeds. Now the DNR, TV3, DNR reporters, area attorneys, politicians, and businesses are using the micro blogging service.
Exact numbers of users in a specific area are hard to find, because metrics are based on whether a user shares their location or not. Twitter’s API can index tweets by location, but not users (thanks to the Twitterers who helped me figure that out). So the numbers are most likely off. For example, according to Twellowhood, there are only about 300 users in Harrisonburg.
Does any of this matter? That depends on whether you perceive the trend as an ocean of noise, a fad, or an important tool for communicating and crowdsourcing. For what it’s worth, Twitter has come in handy for us on a number of occasions. But perhaps more importantly, it gives readers a way to contribute directly to hburgnews.
So what do you think? Is it mainstream? Does it matter?