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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.

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3 thoughts on “Jimmy Fallon crashed Twitter (Twitter is mainstream)

  1. Heck, even my dog twitters: @kooper.

    I’m glad celebrities are joining twitter, because the general population will follow and be introduced to the concept of there being open world-wide social networks (unlike the Facebook walled-garden). It’s also a gateway drug to other web technologies like RSS, Adobe AIR, geolocation, and mobile websites.

    I do wonder why celebrities are jumping on twitter but never started their own personal blog. Maybe their agents don’t feel that twitter is a threat because it’s only 140 characters? Anyways, I’m sure it will give TMZ and other’s plenty of gossip to talk about in the near future.

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