Five Communications Implications As Twitter Enters The Trough Of Disillusionment

gartner_hype_cycle09Earlier this week, Gartner released its latest Hype Cycle report showing the state of various technology trends.

Some of the trends on the rise at various stages of the cycle include augmented reality, Internet TV, Web 2.0 and corporate blogging.

One noticeable point, however: microblogging is about to cross into the trough of disillusionment. Of course, the dominant player in this field is Twitter.

Twitter is social media’s golden child right now. Recently, Twitter has sat at what Gartner calls the “peak of inflated expectations”:

“…a frenzy of publicity typically generates over-enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations”

It’s hard to argue that Twitter hasn’t been over-hyped recently. We’re about to see that change. The next phase is characterised as:

“Technologies enter the “trough of disillusionment” because they fail to meet expectations and quickly become unfashionable. Consequently, the press usually abandons the topic and the technology.”

What does thais mean from a communicator’s perspective? Here are five potential effects of Twitter’s transition into the trough of disillusionment:

  • Less breathless media coverage: corporate Twitter use won’t be enough to generate media coverage
  • Less snake oil: the field will thin as the opportunistic snake-oil salesmen move on to the next shiny tool
  • Maturing use by companies: smart communicators already know that Twitter isn’t a social media strategy unto itself. Twitter will become less of a focus of campaigns and more of an integrated tactic. In more cases we’ll see companies decide that this isn’t the right tactic for them
  • Maturing expectations of users: we’ve seen the growth of somewhat unrealistic expectations in terms of response levels and times by organizations. This should lessen, making issues management more… manageable
  • Increased focus on measurement: as Twitter moves into the trough, it will become all the more important to measure effectively and for communicators to tie Twitter use to business results and metrics

Make sense to you? What do you think?

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.