Today, a brief contest between two theories explaining why you’ve been hearing so much about Twitter recently. Our contestants are Mickey Kaus, who has reasonable instincts for when he’s being had, and Seth Godin, who knows a lot about how to persuade people.

Mickey Kaus

First up, Mr. Kaus. Mickey asks here (2nd item: “Twitterola?”):

… hasn’t there been a whole lot of seemingly spontaneous and semi-mindless mentioning of Twitter lately? And attention-getting celebritweeting? Hmmm. You don’t think that a lot of it might be the result of a paid mentioning campaign?

Seth Godin

In the other corner, Mr. Godin. Seth argues here that Twitter is a big deal because it addresses all (5) “pillars of social media site success”.


Of course, these theories aren’t necessarily competing. You could have a hot product coupled with a sneaky marketing campaign. Just for fun, however, we can make them compete by asking: “Which factor is the dominant one in Twitter’s seeming ubiquity?”

As one on whom Twitter’s charms are largely lost, I’m naturally more sympathetic to Mickey’s theory. It often seems to be that case that, whenever you hear about something ceaselessly, there’s someone working hard to make that happen.

And don’t you seem to hear more about Twitter than, say, MySpace? Especially when corrected for userbase? And doesn’t MySpace hit those pillars (or rest on those pillars – whatever) about as well (as much?) as Twitter?

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