My Twitter account has eighteen followers. Anemic at best. I blame my rather lackluster response speed to social media in general. I also blame the lack of Twitter-crazy friends who’d follow me without arm-twisting threats to do so.
Bourdain has over one million followers.
When I tweet about rumors regarding a possible bilateral investment treaty between Korea and the new government of Myanmar, eighteen people will see it pop up in their Home page. Of those eighteen, half never sign into their Twitter account. Of the remaining nine, half probably couldn’t care less about BITs.
When Bourdain tweets about his extraordinarily delicious dinner at Blue Ribbon Bakery, one million people see it. Of those one million, many are enthused, crazed Twitterians. Of those one million, many care about good food. Of those one million, many will flock to Blue Ribbon Bakery because Bourdain said so on Twitter.
That is influence.
I was never a true believer in Facebook, and hate it more after its flopped IPO (force-feeding me their “timeline” was a shove over the edge). I still doubt the value and purpose of other forms of social media, like Foursquare (seriously, we don’t care that you’ve checked into your office for the thirtieth time).
But Twitter is different. I gauge its value differently. It is the most efficient way to self-advertise one’s values and messages. Its true strength is in its ability to spread like wild fire. Retweets spread the message to an exponential number of followers, and the fire continues, as long as the wind is blowing. And hey, the iPhone app is east to use.
“Power Twitterians” can be influential vessels to spread any message. Particularly during an election year, politicians in both Korea and the U.S. are poised to lure in key influencers from all walks of life. A few tweets from a Power Twitterian will easily reach millions, and more importantly, people will actually listen. Because X said so, not the damn politician.
A new breed of influence, in the palm of your hand.