The Un-Cooling of Twitter

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While everyone has been wringing their hands about the increasing number of spammers on Twitter, a small group of upstarts quietly began assembling while our heads were turned. It began with Shaq and Jon Mayer, then Britney and Miley popped up. Before anyone could stop it Ashton Kutcher was challenging Larry King to a digital duel and soon all of Hollywood was getting involved. Things have come to a head today, ladies and gentlemen. Oprah is in the house.

Twitter founder Evan Williams mentioned yesterday he would be appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show today with Kutcher, so it's no surprise to see Oprah has her own brand-spanking-new Twitter feed. Early this morning I noticed her page was set up and, despite the fact she hadn't Tweeted even once, she already had over 100,000 followers. (What? I was only looking. It's my job. Don't judge me.)

Although The Oprah Winfrey Show doesn't air for me locally until late-afternoon (I think, but I don't know for sure because why would I, right?), it runs at 9:00 a.m. in Chicago where the show is filmed (or so I hear). During this morning's taping, Oprah, her best friend Gayle King, Kutcher, and his wife Demi Moore indulged in a Twitter orgy as millions of viewers looked on. If you follow the threads of their conversation, it's reminiscent of kids who've discovered CB radios for the first time. Or at least I imagine that's the way it would read. If I looked. Which I didn't.

What does this say for the future of Twitter? Well, expect a lot more soccer moms to show up, for one, since Oprah's viewers tend to flock to anything she mentions on the air. After all, you're talking about a woman who can single-handedly put an author's book at the top of the best sellers list, whip cowboys into a frenzy over beef, or make grown men jump on the furniture. People do what she says.

I, for one, welcome our new Oprah-licious overlord. Now that Her Famousness is on Twitter, she's going to bring her viewers with her and probably form a book club where all the stories are 140-character novellas (unless they get very ambitious and read John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding). Twitter's infrastructure will buckle under the strain of so many new accounts and Oprah will rescue us all from the Fail Whale with her humanitarian aid efforts, making Twitter a stronger, better, more affirming place for all mankind.

After all, isnt' that what Oprah is known for -- her generosity? Or is it her humilty? I can never remember because I don't know a thing about her. Really I don't.

Oh, hey do you suppose she'll get a Twitter account for her dog, Sadie?

This story, "The Un-Cooling of Twitter" was originally published by Computerworld.

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