Jimmy Fallon crashed Twitter (Twitter is mainstream)

I’ve been using Twitter as @rkischuk for the past 16 months.  Twitter is growing.  Fast.

@jimmyfallon has taken the late night show slot on NBC formerly occupied by Conan O’Brien, with moderate viewer ratings thus far.  Interestingly, this evening, Jimmy and guests @kevinrose (Digg.com), @alexalbrecht (Digg.com), and @rustyrockets (Russell Brand, Forgetting Sarah Marshall funny guy) asked their Twitter followers and TV viewers to follow @bryanbrinkman, with the goal of unseating @BarackObama as the most followed person in Twitter.  Bryan’s a New York City based creative dude focused on video and animation.  He started today with 7 followers on Twitter.  For the uninitiated, Twitter is a “micro-blogging” service where users can post what they’re doing in 140 characters or less. Unlike Facebook or MySpace, you don’t have to be “friends” with someone.  I can follow your status updates even if you don’t care what I’m doing, and vice-versa.

I started following Bryan on Twitter earlier on Wednesday, after Jimmy twittered about it, but before the show aired – his follower count was still 4 digits at the time.  When he appeared on the show on the East coast, Bryan had over 11,000 followers due only to the “tweets” (twitter updates) of Jimmy and his guests.  As of the time I’m submitting this post, Bryan has over 18,600 followers, and this is even before Jimmy’s show airs on the Twitter-heavy West coast. In doing so, he passes the Wall Street Journal and Fast Company Magazine to become one of the 10 most popular Twitter users in New York City and in the Top 300 out of 1.3+ million twitter users.  Tuesday, Ellen DeGeneres created Twitter account @TheEllenShow, after guest @iamdiddy (P Diddy) demonstrated Twitter to her, and already has almost 50,000 followers in just 2 days, placing her among the 200 most popular twitterers.  Twitter has also been heavily talked about on the major news networks – it is everywhere.

As I was updating stats for this post, Twitter showed me a fail whale several times, as it does then they’re getting more traffic than they can handle.  Twitter Search‘s trending topics at the time were Jimmy Fallon, Google Voice, Bryan Brinkman, #SxSW, Late Night, South Park, Watchmen, Russell Brand, #melo, and GrandCentral – with 4 of these 9 topics related to Fallon’s gag, I have to believe that the fail whale was caused by Jimmy Fallon sending a ton of curious viewers to Twitter in a burst.

Twitter is everywhere on TV now, so much that I am inclined to call it mainstream.  I see not just technophiles on Twitter now – I see people I know from all disciplines – PhD chemists, real estate agents, entertainers, churches, you name it – joining Twitter.  Twitter’s been pretty stable lately, but with 33% growth in just the past month, and the ability of a single mainstream media hit to induce fail-whale’s, I think we’re in for a whole new era of growth as Twitter is embraced by a mainstream audience, and a whole new era of odd Twitter behavior as a flood of new users enters faster than the existing users can educate them about Twitter’s social norms.

Atlanta, Politics

Dear Georgia Christian Coalition (about Sunday alcohol sales)

Another year in Georgia, another year where “Christian” interests harpoon efforts to allow the sales of alcohol on Sunday, in large part due to efforts by the Georgia Christian Coalition, which is “vowing to make Sunday [alcohol] sales a Republican primary issue”.

Dear Georgia Christian Coalition:  you’re doing more damage than good.  Show me what part of your Bible shows Jesus running around lobbying King Herod and Caesar to make the 10 Commandments the law of the land?  From where I sit, your efforts on issues like this do nothing but turn non-Christians off to the church, and to the message of Jesus.  Well done.

Jesus didn’t spend his time telling unreligious people what NOT to do.  He spent time building relationships, hanging out with people that religious folks didn’t approve of, and knew that changes in lifestyle come from the heart, not from legislature.  He did spent a good bit of time chastising religious people (Pharisees & Sadducees) who were obsessed with rules and rituals (sound familiar?).

Even more hollow is the moral ambiguity behind the focus on this one issue.  If selling alcohol on Sunday is bad, why are you not leading the charge to introduce laws to ban alcohol sales every day, or prohibit selling anything on Sunday?  Why allow the sale of lottery tickets on Sunday, and why not close down “gentlemen’s clubs” on Sunday or every day as well?  Taking an annual stand against six-packs on Sunday is posturing – if you’re going to take a stand, at least stand for something more than an awkward compromise.

Lobbying against Sunday alcohol sales in the name of Jesus drives people away from wanting to become or even associate with a Christian, and harms the Republican party you so closely tie yourself to.  Try being known for what you’re for, instead of what your against, and focus on people, not laws.