Twitter Users: The Guinea Pigs of the Technology Industry
Believe it or not, teen pop-star Justin Bieber isn’t the only one who has received extravagant levels of attention on the micro-blogging site Twitter in the past year. This is because the site’s audience goes beyond that of teenage girls and has what appears to be a very technologically savvy user-base, many of whom are more than willing to share their opinions about the latest tech trends and news. Among the hottest technology-focused topics on Twitter in the past year, Apple and Google have both managed to remain relevant throughout the year, according to a recent publication by Computer World.
When looking at this recent study at face value, it’s easy to simply attribute these trends to our obsession with these companies. After all, this same obsession has allowed Google and Apple to steal the spotlight in the media as well. So why wouldn’t it be the same for Twitter?
But in order to understand the root of this trend, we need to look beyond simply what is trending, but rather who is making it trend. Who do you think uses Twitter? Better yet, who do you think constantly uses Twitter? It would only make sense that a Twitter “addict” would be someone who is constantly on a computer or some form of mobile communications device – someone that surrounds themselves with technology on a daily basis. In short, this means that a great deal of Twitter users are geeks; or savvy computer users at very least.
In their recent publication, Computer World lists the top ten highest ranking technology trends on Twitter in the past year. Among these trends, it has been made obvious that Apple’s iPad, iPhone, and recently revamped MacBook Air have been big topics of discussion. Likewise, Google has received a lot of chatter in regards to the release of Google Instant and the Android OS.
As hard as it is to keep up with all of this discussion on Twitter, the significance of the conversation cannot be debated. You see, when the details of the iPhone 4 prototype were first leaked, many people felt that the “suspense” of waiting for the device to be formally unveiled was ruined. While this was definitely true, I was quick to point out that Apple could benefit from the leak simply by tuning into the never-ending discussions and acting upon the opinions of the end users.
With more and more information suggesting that a great number of Twitter users are savvy with present-day technology, I personally feel that the opinions of said individuals (and even the Twitter community as a whole) have been validated to the point where they could actually be useful for technology companies. At the end of the day, I feel that Twitter users are an excellent tool for forecasting and evaluation the present and future technology-related markets.
Look, for example, at my recent proclamation that the mobile industry is going to expand greatly over the next year. While analytical companies such as Gartner have only recently been forecasting exponential growth in the mobile industry, Twitter users have been (indirectly) doing so for the past year. Scroll up a bit and look at the topics that Computer World put forth as the top technology topics of the year; iOS Devices, the MacBook Air, and Android OS. Even though there are certainly exceptions such as the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops, a great number of trending Twitter topics have been in relevance to the mobile industry.
By now, I think I’ve made my point that Twitter (and other social networking mechanisms) can be useful to technology companies. The fact is that end-users are the most important people out there, as they will be the ones who will ultimately determine the success of future products. For this reason I feel that technology companies need to listen to the end-users a lot more in order to tweak their products for a more focused audience. This will ultimately decrease the number of failed product lines, and will likely heighten the sales for technology manufactures. Not to mention, the higher satisfaction on the part of the end-users will be the biggest win-win of all.