If you were tasked with defining Twitter in just one word, what would that be? What best sums up what Twitter means to you in one word? While there has been article upon article, blog upon blog and analysis upon analysis burning up the digital airwaves, many of us still don't know WHY we are so fascinated with this entity called Twitter. Since its simplicity is definitely part of its charm (tweets of a 140 characters or less), I thought a poll based on a one word definition would be most apres pos in trying to nail down what this elusive phenomenon means.
Ever since Twitter was launched in 2006, people still have a hard time grasping the concept. In fact, recent reports indicate that Twitter has had a hard time itself in maintaining user retention. This is most likely due to users attracted by all the hype (e.g. a la Ashton Kutcher and Oprah Winfrey joining its ranks) but then subsequently not returning because they don’t "get it."
Nonetheless there are a good number of books that have been written on Twitter. In addition to "Twitter for Dummies" and "Twitter Revolution" sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble sell Twitter books in the tens of 100s every day. And having read a good number of these manuals myself, not one of them has been able to describe Twitter in one word.
Sprint CommercialA widely popular Sprint TV commercial even made fun of the fact that while a good portion of the population is tweeting up a storm, another 26% have no clue what Twitter means.
In my humble opinion, I would describe Twitter as "traffic." As a writer and editorial cartoonist, I find that Twitter (out of all the social networking platforms presently available) is the one that can by far drive the most traffic to my blogs, cartoon and company websites. And contrary to the 'old school' methods of attracting readership, one's network traffic grows as result of relationship building, not advertising, nor email blasts or hard pitch selling.
As you can see from this Google Analytic chart of the traffic I drew to a recent blog, out of 15,819 pageviews. 12,003 pageviews or 75% was directly attributable to Twitter. Not even Google, Digg, nor Facebook could even come close to that number. So for me "traffic" is how I would describe Twitter, with "relationships" and "networking" coming in 2nd and 3rd.
Google Analytics Source of Business Chart
So here is your challenge: Take our poll today to help us help you in determining the best one-word definition of Twitter. See how close we can come to understanding this elusive microblogging network in just one word. I list 25 potential choices here in this tag cloud in no particular order. Your poll votes at the end of this blog will determine the top word choice that brings in the most votes. So retweet this blog to others in your network, so we can obtain a large audience sampling.
25 Twitter One-word Definitions
And if you didn't find a suitable one word definition of Twitter here, or if you think I missed an important one, please tweet me with your feedback and input. Results to this poll can be viewed periodically by returning to this blog. Final Poll results will be tallied on May 31, 2009.
Thanks for taking the time to be part of this study! Feel free to follow me on Twitter. I look forward to learning more from all of you in the Twitterverse!