I was at a conference recently and was entertained by a presentation from the CMO of Twitter taking us through how just, Gosh Darned marvelous Twitter is. I found it interesting that they were making the case that “it’s not just for news and celebrity.” Funny… I’d of said it is exactly all about that. Away from news and celebrity, 81% of users have less than 50 followers and 75% of users follow less than 50 people. There are certainly a relatively small number of people who are followed by tons of people. Twitter collided with the news this week in a couple of ways, which reinforce it really is all about News and Celebrity. The SEC carried out an investigation into announcements or comments, which might impact investors from people involved in the company. They concluded that it is indeed OK for folks who work in public companies to use social media for announcements about the company provided that they tell all investors where the announcement will be made. Visualizing thousands of Wall Street types trying to figure out how to hash tag or retweet is hilarious. Always keen to make things easier for the “buy at 10 sell at 12 go home at 3″ brigade Bloomberg announced today that they will be adding tweets from companies to info about those companies on their screens. Luck WSJ types can sort by company, industry proximity to any Kardashian.
To reinforce that it really is all about news and celebrity, Twitter is being cited as an unindicted co conspirator to the recent re-death of Jay Leno as host of the Tonight Show. Leaving aside the inherent goofiness of the public execution (again) of the lantern-jawed late night hack, one of the key reasons for his demise is (supposedly) the modest Twitter following he has accumulated. Strictly speaking, Jay doesn’t have his own page but the Late show does and it garners a measly 500+ thousand followers. In contrast, his replacement Jimmy has over 8 million followers and is famous for viral videos. In terms of online engagement, he’s head and jaw ahead of Jay. The late night TV crowd typically skews old… or very old. It’s unclear that Fallon will be able to bring with him any, or some, of his twitter flock… many of his crowd are no doubt out having fun when his show runs live. In any event, the battle for the key 18-49 demographic has already been lost to the Daily Show and my personal favorite the Colbert Report. Had they broken ranks and made one of those guys the new king of late night, we would really have a battle on our hands… and remember, Twitter is not just for celebrity and news.