Kara Swisher wrote a post recently Twitter: Where Nobody Knows Your Name. While attending a wedding at Washington D.C., she did an informal technology survey with about 30 people all of whom were quite intelligent, armed with all kinds of the latest devices (many, many people had iPhones, for example) and not sluggish about technology.
There are her findings (not at all surprising to me), quoting from her article
The grand total who knew what Twitter was: 0
Same goes for FriendFeed: 0
Widget: 1 (but she thought it was one of the units used in a business class study).
Facebook: Everyone I asked knew about it and about half had an account, although different people used it differently.
So her conclusion,
In other words, confirming for me what I wrote last week about the intense obsession with the hottest new services like Twitter and FriendFeed, in the echo chamber of Silicon Valley, and how no one else cares yet.
Basically all the fuss about FriendFeed and Twitter in the tech world sounds very much like storm in a teapot, I couldn’t agree more. But the question then why is a service like Facebook so much more mainstream than FriendFeed or Twitter? Perhaps it’s a matter of time before Twitter and FriendFeed gets more adoption but IMO, the simple answer is that the value of Facebook, likewise MySpace or Youtube, is immediately obvious to non-techie users. If a service make non-techie users work to figure out how to use it, you have lost them, pure and simple. Also, I suspect that non-techie users have no idea what a feed is, much less feed aggregator or mashups.
This post is actually a lead up to my next post on a current ongoing DataPortability DIY project of the month on rel=me adoption, rel=me is a XFN (XHTML Friends Network) microformat standard, I will explain more in the next post.