Mumbai Taught Me That Twitter is Here to Stay

I have had a bit of fun lately with Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson on the “For Immediate Release” podcast, leaving my best “bullshit bingo” comments (“…leveraging our synergies to create a new corporate paradigm..”), but I am afraid that I have to use a term that could fall into that list, describing how Twitter has not jumped into the mainstream:


A series of events over the last several weeks has convinced me that Twitter has gone from a shiny new toy to an overloaded fail whale to an integral part of how we exchange information on a global scale, one that is intertwined with others ways that we send and receive information.

Neville Hobson tweeted about this as well, showing a chart of his tweets and offering comparisons between his and Geoff Livingston’s stats (I’ll leave my own stats out as my New Year’s resolution is simply to get this blog’s Technorati ranking above my shoe size), but I have seen Twitter firmly etch its spot in how we communicate over the last week through convergence.

It’s a horrific example, but the tragedy that took place in Mumbai last week demonstrated how information can be gathered, analyzed, dismissed or accepted and then propagated to an audience craving information.  And by propagated, I mean either through people reading others’ tweets and commenting on them, or through the “old” media picking up tweets and news leads.

I took a look at Blog Pulse, and rather than searching for the word “Mumbai,” I decided to search for the hash tag “#mumbai”. For those of you who have not used this before, hash tags are a way to identify your topic matter in a way that is uniquely identifiable for all.

Here are the stats that I found on Blog Pulse.  Consider that this does not actually measure the tweets themselves, but how those in the blogosphere used the hash tag as a tie-in to Twitter:

I can’t do the math (sorry, Katie Payne, but I am not a math guy), but what we are seeing is the “convergence” (there’s that word again) between the twitterverse and the blogosphere. The spike in the hash tag “#mumbai” demonstrates a cross over from people writing about it in Twitter to people writing about it in blogs to people writing about it in Twitter – and also getting into and from the mainstream media.  As I wrote a few days ago, with such as large population, India as what are likely millions of expats who were desperate for information as the tragedy dragged on.

Finally, what convinced me that Twitter is here to stay is that we are now seeing CNN use it as part of their regular newscasts, including the Mumbai tragedy.  Rick Sanchez annoys the hell out of me, but you cannot argue that a mention on CNN is worth a whole lot of Tweets.  AND – they have more than 60,000 followers.

Two days after Indian authorities restored control in Mumbai, people are still talking and tweeting about it, as we see on the index page of Tweetscan (the larger the word/hashtag, the more mentions).

I’ll leave others to discuss geopolitics and what is likely to happen in India next, but I have not joined the ranks of the true believers that, due to its convergence with other forms of communications, Twitter is here to stay.




  1. I agree that twitter has become a valuable Web tool during catastrophes and other news-worthy events. I have followed the CNN twitter feed since I joined a little more than a year ago and I love it. They do an exceptional job of getting the news in the concise microblogging fomat and are extremely fast- they almost always beat my WSJ e-mails. Great post- thanks.

  2. Very interesting…random question, why was Mumbai making up .5 percent of blog posts on Nov. 1? Just curious…

    I think that Twitter has become a way for news junkies to gather and exchange information–some of my favorite tweets to follow are from news organizations. I’m not ready to call it mainstream yet…1 million users is still a drop in the bucket. I’ll consider it mainstream when I stop hearing “what the hell is a Twitter?” 🙂


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