While the regulatory side of new media has been muddled by recent FDA contradictions in what it says and what it does, the media themselves continue to develop. Twitter, in particular, has enjoyed both growth and high visibility. And, not only are there increased uses for Twitter, but there are increasing ways to monitor and analyze trends among Twitter users.
First, let’s talk about the increasing number and types of people utilizing Twitter. There are not exact numbers that can be quoted in terms of the number of people who are starting Twitter accounts, but anecdotally, this can be said. On March 17, the Eye on FDA Twitter feed had 700 followers. Three weeks later, that number increased by about 28%. That is substantial growth in less than a month. In addition, I noticed that the number of followers that many new followers and the number of updates have been on the low side, indicating that they have not been on Twitter very long as of yet.
Twitter is becoming the place to go in order to find out close to real-time information. There are corporations, foundations and journals all using Twitter.
The power can be seen by this experiment:
Why are they coming to Twitter? It is fast. Here is a graph that demonstrates a Tweet I sent out not long ago that asked my followers (700 at the time) re-tweet to followers, which 40 of them did. I counted the followers of those 40 who re-tweeted the message and found that it went out to 26,000 people – within 6 hours of the original request. Twitter allows you not only to keep in touch with your constituency, but to extend your reach beyond to people and networks who might otherwise never notice you.
And there are a slew of applications that can make Twitter even more useful.