Why Twitter Will Go Mainstream In 2009

Today Dennis Goedegebuure from The Next Corner (follow him at @TheNextCorner) makes some predictions about Twitter in 2009.

2008 showed an unbelievable growth for Twitter as THE place for microblogging. With competitors like Pownce closing their doors, it seems that Twitter has the stronger cards to become the sole survivor in this field.

The Twitter ecosystem is expanding so fast, that the switching costs for users are becoming even higher the more they get connected in the network. Twitter has the network advantages. For Twitter I expect the break into mainstream will come in 2009, if their server park can handle the load!

Twitter Goes Mainstream

  1. Mainstream media is starting to pay attention. A number of articles in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal must have brought Twitter under the eyes of thousands of non Silicon Valley Internet users. We in Silicon Valley tend to think everybody is aware of all the latest tools and services just launched yesterday. This, however, is off course the opposite. Twitter was a rather unfamiliar phenomenon in rural US or even non-Silicon Valley.
  2. Important news worthy events are well documented and break on Twitter. Lately I think about the Mumbai shootings and the plane crash in Denver. But earlier in 2008 a number of events were first broken on Twitter, before the traditional media noticed something happened. Earthquakes, fires or riots. News breaks fast & early on Twitter, as everyone can become a “journalist” breaking news. Just imagine how Twitter can help you if you get arrested in a foreign country like Egypt. Here reported on CNN!
  3. Early adopters who lost interest will return. In the early stages of Twitter, users didn’t know how to use Twitter to their advantage. The way people use Twitter has changed over time. If you were early enough in the game, somewhere in 2006, I can understand why you abandoned the service. Early at Twitter, people were using the service to sent random messages through Twitter. Some early adopters who lost interest abandoned the service. As the usage of Twitter has changed, these people are losing out of the great value which is currently shared through Twitter. I still am not interested when you are going to the bathroom, or what you had for lunch. Not providing value to the conversation will get you un-followed by me. But then again, why should you care about that!
  4. The next president of the US has been using Twitter. Barack Obama was breaking news on Twitter everyday to his more than 100.000 followers. How about that for free publicity or connection to your followers. It does not get more mainstream like this. What’s next, Barack tweeting from an official dinner with Vladimir Putin?
  5. CNN is using Twitter for input in News reports. Ricksanchezcnn uses the input from the conversations and replies he gets through Twitter directly in the way he makes television. He gets instant feedback on the subjects CNN is reporting of. It goes even further, Rick is now actually asking his Twitter followers for input on what to cover in any broadcast. Asking a question in the morning, using the responses in afternoons episodes. You can follow this innovative mainstream media journalist also on his blog: Rick Sanchez on CNN
  6. Twitterbots are becoming big through adding value. Twitter bots like sports cores (list of teams for directs scores US teams: stevepoland), weather updates, people boarding airplanes or stock quotes are open up the hidden value of being connected on Twitter. Now you can get instant updates on real time information wherever you are. A list of Bots on Twitter can be found on: twitter.pbwiki.com/bots
  7. Twitter has become the dominant communication method on conferences. Asking a question on a conference can be difficult. You have to put up your hand, wait for a microphone to come your way, and then you just have to remember what you wanted to ask. How much easier can it be if a moderator is just picking the questions from a pre-communicated twitter account. On the other hand, live tweeting a conference will give people who stay at home the latest download on the content shared on the stage. Conferences will never be the same as without Twitter in the hands of the audience… or the panel.
  8. Through Twitter you can actually get your complaint resolved, fast! Do you have a complaint about one of your service companies, Comcast; AT&T or any other company with a long waiting times on the CS support lines? Now try to tweet a nasty message about how this company sucks. You might be surprised how fast a reply is posted to you. Just read the experience of Rebecca, working for SEOmoz in Seattle. Just read how Comcastbill helped her with a complaint, and turned a bad experience she probably would have blogged about into a great experience, which she also blogged about.
  9. More services build on Twitter get funded. Stocktwits (@stocktwits) got just funded after being live for just two months. When more services are build on the Twitter API’s, more value is created. Only the services that have real revenue potential will attract VC or angel funding. Twitpay (@twitpay) is another potential that can grow big… 
  10. Companies start to communicate PR messages through Twitter. Using Twitter as a marketing instrument is daunting with some companies. Using it strategically to break news about the company opens up new possibilities in the PR field. Twitter cannot only be used for PR, but might also be interesting to get new business partners.

Know When Twitter Has Made It!

  1. When Sites about Twitter Tips are set up by Darren Rowse (joking)
  2. When you parents are starting to follow you
  3. When a Top 10 Twitter jokes is featured by David Letterman
  4. When your company is posting Twitter Guidelines with Do’s & Don’ts on the corporate intranet
  5. When Twitter messages are being used in court cases
  6. When Twitter messages are dominating Google SERP’s
  7. When a government sex scandal breaks on Twitter
  8. All 26 letters of the alphabet signify a Twitter command
  9. When Twitter starts to make money
  10. Techcrunch stops writing about Twitter

I’m looking forward to the year to come, as Twitter has played an important role for me in 2008. I connected with more people online than before and discovered a number of interesting blogs to read. How have you used Twitter in 2008, and what are you expecting to get out of Twitter in 2009? The key to use Twitter in 2009 for me, is to create value for the people who are following me & to connect with more people online.

What else can you think about why Twitter will break into mainstream? And when do you know this has happened? I would love to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter. I’m @TheNextCorner


  • December 30, 2008

    Oh yeah.

    It’s here to stay.

    The whole plane crash story was amazing. Could you imagine if Twitter had been around on 911? Think about it!



  • December 30, 2008

    Definitely in 2009 we will see more interesting case studies about companies and individuals who successfully use Twitter as a communication vehicle for publishing, public relation and so on.

    Twitter tools are important as they make Twitter a more useful channel. A lot have happened in 2008, and for these reasons I think it is already in the mainstream but yes, more will happen in 2009.

  • December 30, 2008


    The real risk is that Twitter won’t have enough cash to last long enough to make it to the mainstream. Twitter has hollowed itself out to such an extent as to make a viable monetisation model difficult; and if they can’t sort that out soon investors may well stop tipping in the coin to keep it afloat.

    I also see the use of bots and automated services (as does @chrisbrogan) diminishing the value of individual networks and therefore of the broader Twitter network. If the signal to noise ratio gets out of hand, and it appears this is becoming the case, some of the bigger players will simply move to a new platform where they can hear themselves talking, thus making Twitter nothing more than a receptacle for a never ending stream of breathless marketing messages.

    I hope I’m wrong though – I usually am – because used thoughtfully it can be a great medium for creating and building connections.

    All the best.


  • December 30, 2008

    I don’t think twitter will hit big in 2009, but we can only hope.

  • December 30, 2008

    During the past two weeks I’ve seen both Fox news and CNN pimp their Twitter and Facebook profiles on the tube during prime time. I think the suggestion that Twitter is important enough for major news corporations to be using and promoting also suggests that indeed, Twitter is breaking in to mainstream.

    2009 will certainly be an exciting year for all of us.

  • December 30, 2008

    Twitter deserve all this – its a great service will surely get great attention in 2009

  • December 30, 2008
    Yael Beeri

    I think that in 2009 we will see a lot more businesses using Twitter for various purposes including customer support and satisfaction, competitive intelligence gathering, business development and more. I also think that we will see a lot more external services relating to Twitter.

  • December 30, 2008

    Undoubtedly, twitter is growing at unimaginable rate. If this trend continued, it’s certainly going to be in top 2 social media services in the coming year.

    BTW Darren, where’s the twitter id field in comment form?

  • December 30, 2008

    I think that twitter will be awesome if it saves the economy!
    I see the huge added value in Twitter and quite love it.

  • December 30, 2008

    I can’t imagine Twitter getting super big. I think we need more tools to sort and search before it will work that big. Besides, I’m not sure that it will. I just read a post the other day that showed that only 1.3% (I seem to recall) of internet users are on Twitter. That makes it not even “Early Adopters” yet, but only at the innovation stage.

    Selfish note: I love that it’s mostly people like me on it. I don’t really want the world to know ;)

  • December 30, 2008

    I agree wholeheartedly and cofounded stocktwits

    I also too the liberty of writing David Letterman’s top weekend tweets for u at twitter.com/howardlindzon

  • December 30, 2008

    Hi there,

    Twitter changed the way I saw social media. The level of interactivity allows you to do things that are not doable on LinkedIn or FaceBook or any other social network. It’s true you can get answers for certain questions extremely fast but in order to get it you need to have lots of followers with whom you engage in conversations. If people are not familiar to talk to you then you’ll probably not get any answers.

    Twitter can also be used for different studies and it can get you fast feedback on products, services or whatever you want to ask your followers.

    What Twitter did for me : basically it helped me to meet great people and to interact with them on a more personal level. For example I found about Gary Vaynerchuk on Twitter or I’ve managed tot talk to Chris Brogan in few twitts. More people know now what I do and the traffic to my website has improved.

    So I would say that Twitter is a very important social tool for me and I’ll continue to use it both as a marketing tool for my services as well a way to interact with people and echange ideas and information.

    WebOptimization on Twitter

  • December 30, 2008

    Twitter is here to stay. Until the next thing…

  • December 30, 2008

    “Create value for the people who are following me…” I think that was David Koresh’s plan too. Here’s another take on Twitter I’m sure you’ll enjoy:

  • December 30, 2008

    I think Twitter is here to stay and will continue to grow but I’m not sure it is, or even should be, for everyone just like blogging isn’t for everyone. Lately, there have been a few questions on the forum I run about twitter and what it would be useful for and for those people who are only interested in keeping up with the people they already know on a personal/social basis, Twitter offers them nothing that Facebook doesn’t already do. Not everyone is in search of networking or being the first to know the latest news/technology/viral thingamabob.

    I think that as applications develop to have twitter feeds delivered to people who aren’t necessarily wanting to be active participants, we’ll really see Twitter become a useful tool to the population at large.

  • December 30, 2008

    What’s next, Barack tweeting from an official dinner with Vladimir Putin?
    I think that much better was to be:
    What’s next, Barack tweeting from an official dinner with Dmitry Medvedev?

  • December 30, 2008

    doesn’t it depend on how u define mainstream? I don’t think Twitter will be *mainstream* like Facebook (with 150M members, adding some 500K daily) anytime soon.

  • December 30, 2008

    Interesting thoughts. I agree with you on most of this. I do not think twitter is going anywhere.

  • December 30, 2008

    You know Twitter has made it when your 76 year old mother asks what it is, because she’s heard all about it recently. So you answer, and she “gets it.”

    That was a true occurence!

    Krissy :)
    visit my main blog: Sometimes I Think
    visit me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/iamkrissy

  • December 30, 2008

    I’m just starting to realize the possibilities of Twitter. It is so much more than a micro-blogging platform. It is a massive networking party. You don’t have to be standing in front of the “right” person for your message to be heard… Just say the right keyphrase and your network will find you!

  • December 30, 2008

    2009 will be HUGE for Twitter. I think mini-mainstream (if there is such a thing), 2010 will be big-time mainstream though.

  • December 30, 2008

    nice informations. thanks.

  • December 30, 2008

    On Twitter will go Mainstream in 2009. I certainly hope so. It will make services like http://www.twitpic.com and http://www.tweetburner.com even more interesting to use.

  • December 30, 2008

    Well, Obama doesn’t really use Twitter, his campaign people are the ones updating it.

  • December 30, 2008

    I totally disagree with #4. Barack Obama did not use Twitter. Some random dude on his staff used Twitter. And just like a typical politician, the account has not been updated since the election. I doubt he’ll be tweeting from an official dinner.

  • December 30, 2008

    It will be big because it gives folks a sense of community. We have gotten too disconnected, now twitter is like the old-fashioned party line telephone. Hopefully it will also bring some accountability to our lives and return some morals. News travels fast, now faster on twitter, good news and bad news. Better behave, not only are folks watchin, they’re twitterin!

  • December 30, 2008

    Thank you all for your comments, and thank you Darren for giving me the opportunity to write this guest post. It was a great learning experience.

    I’m looking forward to next year on Twitter. The usage of Twitter has been changing over time. I’ve been on Twitter since 2006, and back then people were writing: “I’m on my second coffee of the day”.
    Now days, the conversation is much more interesting. People are replying to each other and share insights and stories. This makes Twitter a much more interesting place on the web to spend more time. How much you can learn on Twitter from other smart people is why I spend the time on Twitter, and why I wrote this post.

    I sincerely hope the interesting conversations won’t go when Twitter hits mainstream.
    And like @Walt has commented, presidential election staff is using the platform, but it’s so presidential to abandon the conversation as soon as the goal has been achieved.

    Hope to talk to you all in the new year.
    Thank you


  • December 30, 2008

    twitter has been such a great way to communicate and find new people in a specific industry. What’s nice is that it is a quick text message of sending relevant links and information.

  • December 30, 2008

    Seriously – spell check!!

    Loosing? Ugh!

  • December 30, 2008

    loosing ≠ losing

  • December 30, 2008

    Add an 11th item in the TOP 10 list “Know When Twitter Has Made It!”
    11. When Twitter virus scanners and twitter spam blockers are needed to protect your corporate IT infrastructure.

  • December 30, 2008

    On point #4, you might have a good study in how not to use Twitter. I signed up just ahead of the Vice Presidential nomination announcement and for the next several months once or twice a day I would get essentially this same message:

    At a Change You Can Believe In Rally in Sometown, Somestate. Watch it live here: ht….

    If there was ever anything more than that, I missed it in the noise.

    BTW, what happened to the feature where you could put your twitter id in comments?

  • December 30, 2008

    Love your post. I agree that twitter is here to stay, and I think we’ll see much more use for twitter as time goes on. I use it a lot now as a journalist, and I think it’s potential as a news distribution system is really untapped as of yet.

    I don’t mind on occassional “I had pb&J for lunch” tweet — but I agree that the real value of twitter is providing content. I have found about so many interesting stories and blogs through twitter that I never would have found on my own.

  • December 30, 2008

    Its the truth about the truth of twitter its taking over juts like on hits time and still his time facebook.

  • December 30, 2008

    Great post darren!

    I don’t really understand the value of twitter yet… I guess?

    I know there is something powerful to it… I’m getting better at it!

    It’s information faster. It’s the beginning of web 3.0!

    exciting stuff.

    I look forward to meeting, connecting, networking and growing my business in 2009… twitter will just be yet another helpful tool!

    I love the INTERNET!

    Have an awesome day! thanks again for the great informational post!

    David King,


  • December 30, 2008

    1. I scroll down to make a comment, and there’s seriously people who are annoyed that you spelled losing wrong? I’m a spell/word freak, and I don’t think that one or two misspells warrants a, “Seriously – spell check!!” I’m just sayin’.

    2. I recently started using Twitter a couple of weeks ago. I’d balked at using it before, assuming (see–there’s my problem!) everyone was saying things like, “Making dinner now! Yum!” And really, I don’t care about that. But what got me to join up is the random things that Dooce would twitter, things that were FUNNY, so now I’m on and loving the influx of information.

    3. I don’t know that twitter will go big in 2009. I think it’s another 2 years out. Those who aren’t tuned in to things like this won’t catch on to it very quickly…in my opinion.


  • December 30, 2008


    Twitter is the new medium for news junkies to get their fix instantly. You will soon see a Twitter stream replace the moving news stream from the bottom of most TV station outlets for streaming news…Just remember to know your source for trusting information.

  • December 30, 2008

    All great points, Dennis.

    One comment: Barack Obama did not use Twitter. Not like CNN’s Rick Sanchez is. Know what I mean?

    The value of Twitter to me (and to pretty much everyone else I know) is in the community aspect, the dialogue. Where’s the dialogue when @barackobama tweeted press release headlines? At least Rick engages with people, not everyone, but enough for a view of his profile to know he’s trying.

    It comes down to the buzzword we say over and over and over: transparency. Where’s Obama’s transparency when he broadcasts messages like @CNN?

    You can interact with me on Twitter @ariherzog.

  • December 30, 2008

    Awesome post! Twitter is definitely a great tool

  • December 30, 2008

    Thanks for the post. I can’t wait till Letterman does the top 10 list.

    Follow me on Twitter @jayphilips

  • December 30, 2008

    @ Angela
    Sorry, you are right, I’m not a native English speaker.
    Can you point out where I need to improve?

    Thank you


  • December 30, 2008

    I think micro-blogging will continue to gain popularity, but it won’t be limited to twitter. Just like there are many blogging solutions like wordpress, typeface and blogspot, I think we;ll see similar services and software alternatives to twitter. One such is http://laconi.ca/trac/ which will allow for more control, less dependence on an outside web service, and the ability to allow for private networks.

  • December 30, 2008

    I left a comment here yesterday in relation to the risks that might block Twitter from going mainstream. Was there a problem posting it? Or possibly a problem with the comment management software?

  • December 30, 2008

    Every good thing takes time to be a revolution.
    It has got a gestation period in the beginning and that was what Twitter had been having till now.

    It’s over and 2009 is Twitter’s. I’s gonna mainstream for sure. No doubt about that.
    More and more people realising it.

    What hinders the evangelisation of twitter is that there is no single definitive explanation you can give for the question: “So, What is TWITTER?”.
    It could be explained only through case studies. And for that, this post surely helps.

  • December 30, 2008

    “All 26 letters of the alphabet signify a Twitter command”

    You are very funny, sir!

  • December 31, 2008

    I feel that Twitter will become bigger than Facebook and Myspave in 2009!!!

  • December 31, 2008

    Twitter is tasty and it smells good too. Not so bad on the eyes either.

  • December 31, 2008

    “Twitter bots like sports cores”

    Nice copy editing work there, chief.

  • December 31, 2008

    Barack Obama and his campaign team got it BIG TIME. Excellent application of Social Media.

    It got my attention and I’m commited to learn it also.

    Wilma Woodson of Denver

  • December 31, 2008

    Here’s a reason why Twitter will not go mainstream in 2009: it is down most of the time.

  • December 31, 2008


    If you still believe that, then you haven’t used twitter in a while. Twitter rarely has any unplanned outages now.

  • December 31, 2008

    As a salesperson, I’ve learned that less is more . Twitter is perfect. Right to the point.


  • December 31, 2008

    Thanks for the post!

  • January 1, 2009

    You know, actually, the little minutiae updates are helpful for some uses of Twitter. I started out using it as an easy way to keep in touch with far-flung family members, and it’s nice to feel like we still participate in each other’s daily lives.

  • January 3, 2009

    I’m definitely one of the early adopters who lost interest. I was initially hoping that Dodgeball would hold out and beat twitter, but alas Dodgeball was not to be after twitter got a bunch of attention at SXSW.

    For a power twitter user, check out @skydiver.

    I’d love to see a list of power tweeters.

  • January 6, 2009

    As a developer, the uses to which twitter can be put are staggering and I see little end to this in the short term. Given the somewhat gloomy economic situation, people will turn to alternative existing platforms, such as twitter, which have a very low barrier to entry, provide adequate transactional mechanisms for many tasks and cross many boundaries for both input and output..

    We’ve already got hundreds of applications (see for some of these) . We even have payments by Twitter now (see or ).

    Which of these startups will be successful? Non if we see the demise of Twitter in 2009

  • January 14, 2009

    A different take on the mainstreaming of Twitter:

  • January 20, 2009

    Yep, Twitter is here to stay and this will be realized in 2009. Did you happen to catch last night’s Brothers & Sisters episode? http://tinyurl.com/6t8zud Sarah is lamenting on how she isn’t going to get the venture partner she needs because she is not up to speed and has not used Twitter or Facebook. How’s that for prime time?

  • February 4, 2009

    I have also started experiencing Twitter. I am a late starter but I am sure I would make it big. Thanks for the useful tips. :)

  • July 31, 2009

    You know I’ve been hearing about twitter quite often back days. Got really tempted when Ellen De Generes’ Show kept mention about it. But never really understood how it would benefit me. Till recently I realize the power of Twitter’s network will do good in provoking more people to join my affiliate. More followers equal more people prompted to whatever you have to say.

    I bumped into this free program, that will actually help build thousand of followers in Twitter. Go check out the site here: http://followe.rs/eY

  • August 30, 2009

    I am also a late starter, but I wholeheartedly agree that Twitter is here to stay and will only grow.

    Thanks for the review,


  • September 25, 2009

    Three quarters down the road, and a lot of the predictions have come out.
    I’m still waiting for a David Letterman top 10, but I think we can all agree that the growth Twitter has shown is beyond every bodies expectations.

  • January 29, 2010

    2009 was definitely Twitter’s year. It has certainly gone mainstream and has a plethora of uses, but right now I am most excited about what it can do for travel sites.

    As a travel blog or Web Site owner one can use Twitter to send real-time “this is what I’m doing” or “this is what I am seeing and experiencing” right now. The possibilities are incredible. People can not only learn about a particular location, but they can experience it virtually first…and hopefully they are taking notes, for when they visit the place themselves.

  • February 26, 2010

    I have to admit I originally found Twitter to be quite painful, but I have certainly changed my thoughts.

    I agree with Mikel above in the ability to experience first hand in real time. I hate to admit it, but I occasionally read what the ‘celebs’ are tweeting.


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