Now that Twitter is all the rage among mainstream media (a point I touched on in yesterday’s mediamorphosis post), it’s only a matter of time before journalists turn their attention to the Next New Shiny Toy (whatever that is, or will be). At least that’s the argument Jay Moonah makes in his post describing the seven phases of mainstream media coverage of social media. He even illustrates it for us with the following chart:
Moonah shows how media coverage of social networks follows a predictable arc, the rise and fall in seven steps:
What is X? — Pretty self-explanatory, early stories (perhaps in the form of sidebars or other short formats) explaining what the social network is, at least at a rudimentary level.
Why X is Silly — Usually in the form of editorial or as a part of a larger story, comments saying Twitter is “populated mainly by people keen to share the minutiae of their lives” and the like.
Why X is Great! — Stories about social/fundraising efforts like Twestival and other uses of the technology for fun and profit.
The Dark Side of X — This is where the Twitter coverage is (IMHO) most likely headed next. Remember stories about people having affairs on Second Life or Facebook bullying? Watch for similar stories about Twitter very soon.
X Doesn’t Live Up To Promise — I thought it was interesting that one of the most recent stories I’d seen on Second Life was about the British government defending spending a pretty paltry sum on experimenting with the virtual world as a meeting place. I couldn’t help but thinking that they would have almost certainly been universally praised for this effort two years ago, back when Second Life was all the rage.
Hey, What Ever Happened To X? — Seen any mainstream media stories on Myspace lately? Even though the social network is still used regularly by millions of users (probably far more than use Twitter) I don’t recall seeing a lot of stories about it specifically, except perhaps as part of laundry list of services lumped in with Facebook and Twitter. And perhaps that’s a good thing for Myspace — it’s possible that it is now just taken for granted as part of the landscape of services that we use online, like search or email. It will be interesting to see if Twitter gets to the same place before it falls off the mainstream media radar, and more interestingly if coverage of the NEXT big thing in social networks follows the same pattern.
Will the coverage of Twitter follow this predictable path? So far, it seems to be.