A social messaging phenomenon changes the way editors operate.
Twitter, the social messaging phenomenon that allows users to text their friends, 140 characters at a time, has been around since 2006.
Yet, perhaps ironically, many magazine publishers became aware of Twitter last November, when a then-anonymous public relations flack launched âThe Media is Dying,â a Twitter feed chronicling the seemingly endless waves of media industry layoffs, cutbacks and closingsâboth real and rumoredâin real-time.
Some magazine editors have adopted Twitter as part of their daily editorial routines, changing the way they operate. BusinessWeek.com editor-in-chief John Byrne, for instance, uses his Twitter feed to update his 11,000 or so followers about what the biggest stories are, whatâs discussed in news meetings, what he plans to lead the next day with and even who heâs eating lunch with and what theyâre talking about. (Some sample âtweetsâ from Byrne: âNews meeting: After a long discussion about AIGâs exec bonuses, weâre leading in the a.m. with What Does AIGâs Future Hold?â; âMost-read & discussed story at BW.com: Madoff: Lessons from a Disaster.â)
Current industry estimates put the number of registered users around 8 million in the U.S.âa number that is growing roughly 30 percent per month.
Itâs small compared to Facebookâs 175 million users, but the buzz surrounding Twitter is palpable. Last month, Jason Calacanis, CEO of Mahalo (who counts 61,266 Twitter followers) offered Twitter $250,000 for a permanent spot in Twitterâs âTop 20 Suggestedâ list for two years. Calacanis told TechCrunch: âI believe that in five years the top 20 recommend slots will be worth $1 million a year eachâSuper Bowl commercial level in fact ... this is dead serious.â
Unabashed enthusiasm aside, it remains to be seen, however, if Twitter can evolve into a viable, game-changing businessâor, more importantly, if magazine publishers can drive business with it.
VITAL STATS: An estimated 8 million registered users in the U.S., 10 million overall, and growing at about 33 percent month over month.
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