Will Oprah Get the Creaky Crowd Tweeting?


So read Oprah Winfrey’s first tweet last Friday.

Given Twitter’s wild success, the addition of one more devotee ordinarily would not create much of an impact — even a celebrity like Winfrey. However, Winfrey made her Twitter debut on her TV show — another, albeit more established, cultural icon.

Traffic to the microblogging site skyrocketed after the broadcast by a whopping 43percent, according to the market tracker Hitwise. What’s more, 37 percent of the surge represented newvisitors.

The Oprah Effect

The Oprah Effect — on anything — has been well documented. Her book club has been credited with making reading popular again; indeed, she has propelled any number of novels to the ranks of the best-sellers. Her magazine gets thicker each year, even as other consumer-oriented print publications fall by the wayside. Her endorsement has been creditedwith giving U.S. President Barack Obama a crucial boost during the earlydays of his campaign for the Democratic nomination.

Given all that, the jump in Twitter traffic is understandable,David Erickson, director of e-strategy for Tunheim Partners, told theE-Commerce Times.

It is interesting, though, because Winfrey’s showwill accelerate — perhaps faster than anyone expects — a growingsocial media and Web 2.0 trend: adoption among baby boomers andeven older generations.

Merging Demographics

To be sure, the trend has been steadily building on social networkingsites such as Facebook and niche sites devoted to specific topics suchas health or employment.

The demographics for Twitter, however, have remained solidly in theGen Y and Millennials’ columns, Erickson said.

WithOprah leading the way, that may change. “The OprahWinfrey Show” no doubt can claim viewers in just about everydemographic, but most watchers are likely older than the typicalTwitter users, said Erickson.

Changing Content

At least initially, Winfrey fans will log in primarily to read her tweets, whichhave the tone and consistency of an enthusiastic newbie to the site(“In the makeup chair, reading script for today’s show. SHOCKINGvideo! Don’t miss the beginning.”)

Eventually, though, these fans are bound to begin following other tweetersand perhaps set up their own accounts. One thing that can be said aboutTwitter — there is something for almost everybody on the site.

Indeed,the recession itself is a unifying force for content, Erickson suggested.”I’ve noticed a lot of tweets about the best sites for coupons. Thatis something sure to interest boomers.”

1 Comment

  • I was interested in reading the whole article because I saw Oprah send her first "tweet". I AM a boomer and have a twitter account where I follow all the regulars, Ashton, Britney, my favorite morning drive DJ’s and now Oprah. I was feeling good about myself until Mr. Erickson’s comment about people my age looking for coupons. My friends and I work full time, carry Blackberry’s and netbooks and I manage the company website. Most of us have to record Oprah in order to watch. We’re not ready for our rockers and clipping coupons yet!

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