Is twitter becoming the digital suburbs in the UK?

Are innovators and early adopters likely to move onto the next big thing soon?

UK population 2010 62.2m (ONS, 2011)

Based on Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation (Rogers, 1959) we would expect the theoretical twitter populations of:

Innovators (2.5%)  = 1.55m

Early Adopters (13.5%) = 8.37m

Combined (16%) = 9.92m

Estimated UK twitter population 15.5m

Estimated active UK twitter population = 5.1m (~32%)

So depending on what you estimate the proportion of active accounts to be it might be time for the early majority to start moving in. Great news if you are hoping twitter will help you shift product, less good if you are looking for bright ideas, and a total nightmare if you work in customer service…

Of course you have to ask innovators of what? early adopters of what? Early adopters of <your product or service> may not be on twitter or any social media platform.

But my study is in social networking and media – so I expect a close correlation between the two populations. And just because they have moved on doesn’t mean they will stop using twitter, it’s just insight and intelligence will become harder to find in an increasingly turbulent sea of dross and spam. Example – today’s top UK hashtags #hungry (promoted by Snickers) and #GreatestTits.

Big sigh.

Networks, specifically lists, will play an increasing role in filtering lame content – but then that runs the risk of online collectivism (Lanier, 2006) and balkanism when programme-makers and journalists seeking to innovate should be thinking about ways social networking can expose them to greater intellectual diversity (Kao, 1997).

So – what’s the next cool thing? (that isn’t that big yet…)

(Say foursquare and I will be the mayor of whupass…)

Thanks to umph for a nice picture of (estimated) UK social meejah usage: