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Can Twitter & Social Media channels replace Mainstream Media ?

Posted by John Horniblow on Jun 29, 2009 in Branded content, General, Social Media Marketing |

Reposted from LABEL  brand.intelligence http://blog.label.ch

Can Twitter & Social Media channels replace Mainstream Media ?

AKA.  The day Michael Jackson killed Twitter -

The past two weeks has been a defining period for Twitter. #Iranelection and Micheal Jackson’s death are the most recent defining moments that have allowed the microblogging service and Social Media to show their impact on mainstream mass media and government affairs. Early morning Friday (Europe) Twitter’s servers collapsed under a tsunami of tweets in the public out pouring surrounding the king of pop’s death. Not only was Twitter buckling under the deluge of Tweets but Google also served an error page and News websites around the world slowed considerably. As the news of the king of pops death broke, Google feared it was under a denial of service attack and served its error page. As it calmed down the Michael Jackson search trend was substantiated and it was rated as “volcanic”.

Follow the trend on Nielsen’s Blog Pulse mj-trend1 According to the BBC, initial data from Trendrr, a Web service that tracks activity on social media sites, the number of Twitter posts containing “Michael Jackson” totaled more than 100,000 per hour. That put the momentary news of Jackson’s death equal to the peak surrounding the Iran protests ten days before.

iran-twitter2 Twitter posts on #iranelection reached 100,000 per hour on June 16 and eventually climbed to 220,000 per hour. In response to the Iranian governments shutdown of both local and international from reporting on the events unfolding in Iran, it’s connected populace turned to social media channels, to break the news using mobile phones, through proxy servers setup by freedom of speech advocates in the US and their own blogs and social media outlets. The Twitter channel #iranelection gained so much importance and notoriety in a matter of a few days that the State Department of the US asked Twitter to postpone network maintenance so it could continue monitoring the service. The opening of social media channels spread the defiance against the Iranian government, caused an intense cyberwar (Crisis in Iran Sparks Global Guerrilla Cyberwar) and caught the traditional media outlets by surprise. The effects of the immediacy of news and the spontaneity of world’s citizens to rebroadcast and support that news was so profound that even CNN’s Christina Amanpour was quoted in the New York Times saying “You can’t keep news down anymore & that’s a huge change…getting the word out is totally democratized.” Twitter had matured in an instant and its reported plateau on user adoption from the month before was suddenly just another small bump in Twitter’s rocky road to mainstream user adoption. Twitter’s growing impact on journalism is punctuated by what is happening in Iran. News services like CNN and BBC renowned for on the spot reporting were caught out, the world was watching the news , but not on their channels. Mainstream media commentators posted a pieces on rules of engagement for journalists following the 1st spike in activity when the true power of the world’s citizens voice was amplified through Twitter. Coincidentally at the same time as history was being created in Iran, Clay Shirky of TED was delivering the this message on how Social media helps define history through instant reporting. Notably on these two defining events the buzz surrounding the Twitter service peaked as a new wave of adopters hit the platform. Here’s a look at a what these two events effects on Twitter have been. User Adoption twitter-adoption How to Use Twitter – The question on what to do ? how-to-use1 With all this buzz surrounding the Twitter platform and its continued massive adoption, the service has to really work on capturing these waves of people and turning them to loyal users. Its failure to scale an infrastructure quick enough for unexpected demand reminds me of my days at Activision. The combination of deep social media based fan communities and highly precision driven digital campaigns together would on occasion overwhelm our servers. The technical infrastructure guys would cringe saying it wasn’t good, but the marketing teams pointed to it as a success point the “digital marketing efforts” were working extremely well. Needless to say it was seen a good problem to have, it spurned an investment in an web serving environment that could handle the onslaught of big and hugely successful campaigns and opened peoples eyes to the strength and importance of the digital and social media. What is clear from my experience is you have got to have a brand people love then users will forgive a few hiccups in service or shortcomings. What is obvious is that the people have spoken, Twitter is gaining love. It has peoples attention and will be forgiven for a few outages. Now it has to capitalize on these peaks and show that its a platform worthy of true love and loyalty.

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