Twitter goes mainstream – will it survive?

Just an observation: Twitter is in the the process of “crossing the chasm”.   Once accused of being the playground of narcissists and navel-gazers, the popular micro-blogging service is now going mainstream.  How do I know?  Well a few months back I used Twitter’s contact feature to see if there were any Twitter users in my Google contacts that I  was not already following.  There were three.  I did the same thing again a couple of minutes ago and there were now 120! And these weren’t techies, new adopters, and geeks.  All of my friends that fit those categories were already on the service and had been for some time now.  No, these folks are financial planners, real estate agents, business owners, interior designers, consultants, bankers, etc.

So my question is why?  Is it because the usefulness of Twitter has suddenly become widely understood and embraced by the majority?  I’d like to say yes, but somehow I doubt it.  I think the sudden rise in Twitter popularity is due mostly to CNN and the election coverage – and this is why I ask the question, will it survive?  Twitter’s ranks are filling, but will the new users add value or just consume resources?  Will they find a useful means of communication and embrace some kind of monetization of the system, or will the fail-whale dominate the site in between massive doses of sales pitches and self-serving links to personal and company websites?

Twitter, I’m rooting for you, but I think the jury is still out.

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