What do Aston Kutcher and Fonzie have in common?
They both jumped a shark.
Fonzie did it on “Happy Days“, and then we all knew the end was near for that long running TV series.
Aston’s “shark” was 1 Million Twitter followers.
He jumped it, alright, with plenty of room to spare. Even dragged a major news network with him.
Does this shark jump portend “the end” for Twitter?
Maybe not the end, but at the very least it has hit a tipping point.
This race for pure numbers signaled a transition to where the “broadcasters” now outnumber the “conversationalists”.
Where quantity is king, just like any other broadcast medium, be they subscribers, TV households, circulation – or followers.
Where the wholesale mentality reigns supreme – “Hey, since I’ll only convince 1%, I better get a lot of ’em“!
I mark this transition with a bit of sadness, but I too realize that it was inevitable. I’m sure those 1st pioneers who patrolled the “World Wide Web” in relative solitude 20 years ago felt the same way.
It’s just too easy, too cool, and too convenient – and free (unless you buy one of those $100 “Get 20,000 followers” CDs – and then its still pretty close to free).
So now the interesting thing will be how this new Twitter era progresses – will we soon be talking about “follower monetization” in the same way we used to talk about “eyeball monetization” in the late 90’s?
Will we soon be seeing business plans that put a value on me, based on who I follow, or my “propensity to follow”, or the TV shows I Tweet about or CDs I recommend, or all of the above?
Let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised.
Of course, we conversationalists will continue to Tweet away as this is going on, since after all our cost of entry was also zero, and we can still deal with the broadcast clutter.
Oh yes, we’ll also follow some of the broadcasters too, just like we listen to radio stations or tune into a television program.
Eventually we will cease to converse and just “listen”, because we will have moved on to something else, our newest conversational oasis, whatever it may be.
I’ve seen it happening already – many of my earliest (and most active) Twitter friends make rarer and rarer appearances these days.
C’est la vie. But rest assured I will continue ride the Twitter train for the foreseeable future, because I also was one of those who watched Happy Days long after Fonzie jumped the shark.
Because after all, it was the Fonz who pioneered communication in less than 140 characters.
In fact, far less. Ayyyyeeeeeee…….