The Oprah Effect On Twitter
Everybody knows the quickest path to national sensation is through Oprah Winfrey’s talk show. Become one of her favorite things or favorite books and that favor transforms into a golden ticket. But what effect would she have on Twitter? After all, it’s not bath lotion or a slimming pair of mom jeans.
Even before Oprah’s Inaugural Tweet (treated with the kind of reverence, awe, and anticipation of Armstrong’s first steps on the moon), a quiet appearance on Twitter just in preparation for last Friday’s program featuring Ashton Kutcher and Twitter founder Evan Williams, Oprah’s account amassed tens of thousands of followers.
The so-called skeptics worried Oprah’s soccer mom legions descending on Twitter would suck the coolness out of the room. (“So-called,” because real skeptics voice realistic concerns and doubts that actually might matter; pretending to worry, especially after the Boomer Facebook invasion, that geeks, teens, and old folks won’t tweet peacefully in their respective corners is akin to the worst kind of cable news what-if, time-filling nonsense.) Ahem…
Au contraire, the Oprah Effect seems to apply just as ferociously to social media as it does to merchandise. Since the show, Oprah’s account has hit nearly half a million followers, and Hitwise reports Twitter saw a 24 percent increase in traffic on Friday, a 43 percent spike over the previous Friday. Though much of that critical mass could be attributed to Kutcher’s and CNN’s publicity stunt race to a million followers, 37 percent of visitors to Twitter were new on Friday.
Oprah’s presence on Twitter revives the question about how much an individual’s Twitter account is worth. One of her earliest tweets—a la “come here, I want to see you”—was an instruction to her assistant to order a Reuben sandwich for her. How much would a specific sandwich shop, a particular brand of rye bread, the maker of a special recipe sauerkraut have paid to be mentioned as an official component of Oprah’s lunch via Twitter?
No wonder Twitter posted that job opening for celebrity schmoozer recently. The endorsement market is still wide open.