Being First on Twitter in the OC

Thanks to ksablan (Kevin Sablan) for noticing my earliest adoption of Twitter. (Granted, back in July 2006 when I signed up for Twitter, I was a resident in the metro DC area and not in the OC, I have lived in the OC since July 2007.) See the top 100 list of who “joined twitter first in Orange County“.

In over 5 years of twittering, here’s some things I’ve noticed and/or learned:

  • When a new technology is launched into the public, there’s no guarantee that it’ll flourish into mainstream adoption nor that it will keep growing its popularity and audience base (i.e. SixDegrees, Friendster, MySpace).
  • Social media is about the people, not the technology, nor the “superiority” thereof. When I first used Twitter, there wasn’t much going on there because there weren’t people there. The wisdom of the crowd had not yet figured out valuable ways to use real-time updates. Journalists were among the earlier to use it, along with some ham-radio-like amateur hobbyists. Hashtags were a later invention/ innovation.
  • Twitter is much more valuable because it is an open platform in the public, rather than being behind a virtual wall a la Facebook. I know there are millions more people on Facebook where people are connecting with friends and being fans of brands/people they like. Twitter lets me get near-real-time news, jump in (and out of) conversations, and connect with total strangers and meet new people in ways that Facebook doesn’t.
  • The life span of a tweet is shrinking as it’s become more mainstream. Used to be able to search tweets back to 3 weeks, now the twitter search engine goes back maybe 3 days. The technical requirements needed to run twitter is undoubtedly costly, and all the more so with more usage.
  • I love new things and exploring what could be next. This isn’t a “first mover advantage” for me, since I am not doing this to look for opportunities to monetize or to grow a business, though it has indirectly been an asset in my paid work. (Do you have a suggestion for how to get paid to for exploring? I’d love to hear it!)