Sure, I stole the headline (and the topic) from Novell Chief Marketing Officer John Dragoon. In a recent blog post, Dragoon openly asks if Twitter will become the CB Radio of social media. If you're under 40, you may not understand Dragoon's point. But it's an intriguing one worth exploring. Here are some thoughts.
In Dragoon's blog post he points out that CB (citizens band) radio was "all the rage" in the 1970s. Dragoon notes:
"CB radio was a way to connect with complete strangers or friends with a reasonable investment and no variable cost to participation. And like Twitter, the value of CB radio was exponential to the number of devices in use. CB radio aficionados were enthusiastic defenders of the medium. Heck they even had their own language, lingo and “handles...Is Twitter heading in the same direction? Dragoon notes that teens aren't so keen on Twitter -- a potential danger sign for the microblogging service.
...But alas, CB radio never reached the promise or potential of its supporters and today it’s a pop culture item and answer to a trivial pursuit question."
Hidden UpsideStill, I think Twitter is here to stay. During a given month, roughly 1 to 3 percent of our company's overall Web traffic comes from Twitter followers. That sounds like a small percentage, but it represents anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 page views across our sites each month, depending on overall traffic. Plus, all of our growing traffic on MSPtweet and VARtweet depends on Twitter chatter.
Sure, most Twitter followers are passive. But the loyal Twitter followers -- the engaged readers -- are worth your time. They can help you to shape business ideas. And they can unlock new revenue opportunities.
Plus: Let's be honest - news (or news alerts) break first on Twitter. Whether it's a major world event or a targeted piece of news, the buzz most often spreads first (and fast) on Twitter.
Using Twitter is a bit like exercising. You've got to stay engaged every day to drive conversation, drive a following and grow your community.
I concede: I was a CB user in the 1970s. Though just a kid at the time, I doubt my family would have "paid" for CB service. In stark contrast, I suspect I'd be willing to pay for Twitter service. In fact, I think a paid approach would help to weed out much of the Tweet spam while improving Twitter's reliability.