The difference between buzz and popularity

Everybody is talking about Twitter. Stephen Fry talks about it. In fact, journalists ask him about Twitter before they ask him about his latest film. The Guardian put Twitter on it’s front page. Twitter is Here.

In fact, over the last few days, people have started saying to me, “oh, Facebook is over. No-one’s on Facebook anymore, everyone’s on Twitter. If you want your clients to have a social networking presence it should be on Twitter.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love Twitter. I find it a more useful tool than Facebook, for both keeping in touch with friends, and finding interesting articles and research. I love the character limit, and I love the search. It’s a useful tool both personally and professionally. But this doesn’t mean that we should assume that Facebook is dead in the water, with Twitter busy marching over it’s grave. Look at the following graph from Alexa on web traffic to the two sites.

The really small line at the bottom that you can barely see? That’s web traffic going to Twitter. The top line that is still steadily rising? That would be traffic going to Facebook.

There is a very clear difference between the buzz a new technology or application can create, and the real truth about its popularity.