If you’re not familiar with Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail, you should take a look at his book or at least read the about page on his site to understand this post. In a nutshell from Chris’s site:
The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail.
In an attempt to explain what Twitter is to those who are not familiar, I’ve said that it is the long tail of celebrity. Ok, so that is probably pretty dumb since now I also have to also explain what the long tail is. I probably need to keep searching for a better definition, but when I say that it’s the long tail of celebrity, I simply mean that everyone who uses Twitter can be a celebrity…
to a certain extent.
Once you have followers on Twitter, you could be considered a celebrity of sorts. You’re not one of the big names, the hits, but you could certainly be considered a niche–especially in the case where your followers are only friends or family.
Thanks to Marcus I have started to follow some independent software developers for the Mac on Twitter and find many of their tweets (Twitter posts/updates) to be interesting. There’s lots of noise too, but you can quickly filter through that. What I’ve learned from following these guys is just the sheer amount of time these guys seem to spend coding. I know that’s what it takes to be successful as an indie, but it’s just fascinating to me to watch these guys update what’s new in their development processes.
To me, guys like Wil Shipley, creator of the award winning Delicious Library and Daniel Jalkut, developer of MarsEdit are celebrities of sorts. I don’t know Wil or Daniel personally and they don’t know me from Adam, but Twitter has enabled me to see what’s going on with the most recent developments in the latest version of each of the applications they develop and maintain. It’s highly interesting to me.
I see them as successful at doing that which I would personally like to do as well. I’m not star struck by these guys as tends to be the case when people are fascinated with Hollywood celebs, however, there is certainly an element of admiration as they are the real deal in independent Mac OS X development. They actually have applications available for purchase and are living the dream.
If my theory is right, then everyone can be a celebrity by using Twitter. Just don’t go taking yourself too seriously, throwing public tantrums, and getting caught driving drunk like the regular celebrities do every time your followers number rises. Remember, you’re still in the long tail–you’re a niche, not a hit.
You can catch me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/perlmunger. It’s not terribly interesting, but if you follow me, I’ll be your celebrity.