When media preview events become Twitter preview events

As a magazine editor, I got to go to a few media events, supposed to introduce me to a new product or service in hopes I would write about it and publish it. The idea is, as a writer or reporter, I have a large and select distribution. What I say about a restaurant or clothing store goes out to a large group of people.

I’m not invited to this stuff because I’m special or cool; just because it is more strategic to allow me to sample the tuna tartare, because if I say I like it, I am able to tell a whole subscription base, while the next person is only able to tell her circle of friends. In addition, depending on the magazine, my subscribers might be rich and the PR company wants rich people to know about their restaurant client.

But, with the capabilities of the internet (specifically web 2.0), everyone is a publisher.

It used to be that journalists were sort of the guinea pigs of society. My college journalism professor told us that the career was not necessarily lucrative, but it would give us front-row seats to life. That might be global conflicts or local politics, or a more literal front row, as a photographer on the sidelines at the Superbowl.

I have, for awhile, held a theory that Twitter users are first adapters. Initially, this is obvious. Twitter is a new technology, and the only people on it and using it regularly are the type of people who try out something that is not yet mainstream. These are probably many of the same people who bought the first iPhone, or the first iPad.

But on a closer look, I wonder, will Twitter go mainstream? Facebook did – it began as a service for college students, but eventually it became useful to people of all ages. Twitter is a few years newer, and is still growing, as businesses use it as a marketing tool. But, with its simplicity, will Twitter ever become a tool that is useful or necessary for a mainstream crowd?

Or, will Twitter always be niche.

I’m not saying that as a downside. Twitter has shown to be very useful for people reporting the news, spreading the news, breaking the news and so on. Very effective. Very networked.

But, does *everyone* need to get on Twitter? Because, I sort of think that when I read something on Twitter, I tell my friends … aloud, in person, in conversation. Twitter is a point of distribution.

Back to my theory that Twitter users are first adapters. Marketers are wise to introduce a product to Twitter users because they are experimental and will try it out, willingly, and they will tell their friends if they like it. They might post it on Twitter, but they will also tell their “real, live friends.”

Are first adapters also influencers, by definition? Maybe not, but I would be their is overlap.

All that to say, try this out: Next time you think of having a media event, to introduce the media to a message, instead of inviting professional journalists, consider inviting Twitter users. See if they don’t have a similar reach compared to traditional publishers.