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The advertising world is all atwitter about Twitter. A majority of the public at large, by contrast, hasn’t even gotten sufficiently interested in Twitter to have a disparaging opinion about it. These contrasting views emerge from a dual-audience LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll conducted last month.
People who have a professional involvement in the advertising decision-making process, whether at ad agencies or client companies, were asked to choose among three ways of describing Twitter (or, as a fourth option, saying they “don't know enough about Twitter to have an opinion”). Among these ad people, 45 percent agreed that “Twitter is something that is just in its infancy, and its use will grow exponentially over the next few years.” On the other end of the opinion spectrum, 17 percent said, “Twitter is already over and it’s time to find the next best thing.” In the middle were 21 percent saying, “Twitter is something that mostly young people and the media will use, but it will not move more into the mainstream.” Seventeen percent didn’t have an opinion.
The pattern of response was wholly different when the same question was put to the general public. Among these respondents, just 12 percent said they view Twitter as something that will soon “grow exponentially,” matching the number who regard it as mainly something the media and young folks will use. Just 8 percent adhered to the “Twitter is already over” school of thought. But an outright majority -- 69 percent -- said they don’t know enough about Twitter to have an opinion about its future. (The total exceeds 100 percent due to rounding.) In its way, that’s more damning than if they’d said Twitter’s day is done. Even among those in the 18-to-34-year-old age bracket, 55 percent said they didn’t know enough about Twitter to have an opinion about its prospects.
Given the disparity in opinion between ad people and the general public on Twitter’s likely course, it was surprising to see a congruence on the question of whether Twitter is effective when it comes “to promoting products and ideas.” (One caveat, though: This question was asked just of respondents who had expressed an opinion about Twitter in responding to the prior question, which means it excluded a majority of the general public.) Eight percent of the ad people and the same percentage of the general public rated it “very effective” for this purpose. Fifty percent of ad people and 42 percent of the public at large rated it “somewhat effective,” while 24 percent of the former and 31 percent of the latter called it “not that effective.” Eight percent of ad people, vs. 19 percent of the general public, called Twitter “not at all effective” when it comes to promoting products and ideas.