If You’re Not On Twitter, You May Not Exist

I’ve said for years that if you can’t be found in Google search results, you may not exist. (I also heard this from Phil Cooke.) I don’t mean that about people – just websites. Now I’m beginning to say the same thing about Twitter. If you’re website’s feed isn’t fed to Twitter in some way, shape, or form, you may not exist.

Robert Scoble posted a note to Posterous about why he doesn’t use Google Reader anymore. I read his article, tried his tactic, and ten minutes later switched back to my ultra-dependence on Google Reader as my lifeline to the web. Nonetheless, I think Scoble raises an interesting point about the evolution of the web. After all, not everyone feels the need to see every story from every blog to which they subscribe like some of us.

Ten years ago, search became ultra-important. the SEO field boomed. In those olden days, you showed up on Google, people found you, and they subscribed to your feed. This is obviously still a vital way of connecting with the public and you really need to understand RSS.

Now, however, we may see a major wave of people moving beyond feed-reading to dependence upon their preferred social media streams to be up-to-date. Why? Well, I think…

  • Social media streams are people and relationship oriented, not information oriented.
  • Social media streams are quicker (for now at least) at broadcasting the latest and greatest.
  • Social media streams show what’s popular among the new, so the more people reading something, the more accessible it is.

All of this has changed just a bit with the introduction of Twitter lists. People are all over them. Over 6.5 million have been created as of this morning, and they’ve only gone live to everyone in the last 72 hours. Yes, Facebook and Friendfeed (and other networks) have had lists for some time, but Twitter is different.

So when I ran my ten-minute experiment on moving to Twitter as an RSS reader, three factors caught my attention.

  1. Many sites I currently read don’t have any Twitter icon / option / stream on their home page at all.
  2. Twitter doesn’t work for me like it does for Robert Scoble because the good stuff gets pushed down under the more often-tweeted but less important stuff. One active Twitterer on a list can effectively drive good content down out of reach.
  3. A few sites still don’t even get the power of RSS – no icon at all.

Here’s my extremely simple point. Be on Twitter. I’ll meet you there.

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