Twitter is a very, very small part of most stories that mention it, yet media outlets seem to be climbing over each other to promote it.
"On these issues, I will not be muzzled, I will speak up and speak loudly against this risky plan," Wilson said in a YouTube video released Thursday evening. "The supporters of the government takeover of health care and the liberals who want to give health care to illegals are using my opposition as an excuse to distract from the critical questions being raised about this poorly conceived plan." The congressman disbursed the video via Twitter and asked his followers to "please watch and pass on."
Fortunately, Twitter (or rather, the url shrinking service Bit.ly) lets us see roughly how many people actually clicked that link, simply by adding a ‘+’ sign to the URL in Wilson’s tweet. That takes us here, where we see the link has received 3,402 clicks, slightly less than 3,000 from the original URL, as of the time of this writing.
Not bad, but nothing compared to the 50,847 views the actual YouTube video is registering, and it’s nowhere near the top of the YouTube search for “Joe Wilson”.
So Twitter is sending slightly less than 6% of the traffic towards Wilson’s response video, but gets prime play. What about the e-mail blasts Wilson’s surely sent out? The instant messaging networks that people have used to pass it along? The Google that the kids are using to by pass media filters and get information directly from primary actors, just like Wilson is doing?
Is Twitter useful, cool and indicative of the future of communication? Probably. But it has almost nothing to do with Wilson’s response. It’s a medium, and plugging it isn’t much better than writing “the congressman disbursed the video via Outlook Express and Yahoo! Mail, and asked his supporters to AOL Instant Message it out to their AOL IM Buddy Lists.”
Not hating, just asking to keep things in perspective.