Armstrong’s tweet success

August 26, 2009


 Lance Armstrong brought traffic to a stand-still yesterday when he decided to take a cycle through Phoenix Park. More than 1,000 cyclist showed up from around our fair city- to join the seven times tour de France winner for the impromptu ride announced on twitter.

I haven’t taken to twitter, I haven’t signed up, I haven’t followed. That is not to say that I won’t sign up in the future, I may eventually warm to it, but for now it doesn’t appeal. It’s another social network on top of 3 I’m currently signed up to that I don’t need. I feel I know enough about what my friends are up to, and see little benefit in knowing what Lily Allen has just eaten for breakfast, how uncomfortable Stephen Fry is in a lift, or where Kim Kardashian has just been shopping.

It’s with surprise then that I found that a flash mob was to organise itself in phoenix park. That Phoenix Park Bike Hire was to be completely booked out of it’s 190 hire bikes within two hours of the post. That as of July Twitter had over 97,000 irish users. Have I just missed the point?

A top ten of twitterers shows Ashton Kutcher as the most popular, with 3,335,747 followerers. Following closely are Ellen de Generes, Oprah, Britney, Ryan Seacrest and Barack Obama. Marketers are quickly including it in their campaigns. A recent campaign ran in the UK for, saw the introduction of the new cult figure Aleksandr Orlov. Aleksandr the meerkat has been using twitter ( as a regular means to keep in touch consumers, with over 26,549 followers.

Meanwhile back on our home turf, Lance Armstrongs phoenix park cycle was the first successful tweet that made me stop in my tracks. It made the 9’ o clock news, front page of this morning metro, hundreds of websites. Great PR exercise for the cancer society summit that draws the cycling champion to our shores. What have Aleksandr, Lance, Barack, Oprah got in common that makes their tweets so successful? Personality! Using tweet as Marketing tool is useless unless consumers are drawn to the character that you are presenting. Out of the top 10 global twitterer’s, 8 are famous personalities.

Will I be tweeting any time soon? Probably not! I’m not sure people really want to know what I’m up to. When I become famous maybe what I just ate for breakfast (tea and toast) could be a life changing revelation for them, but for now it’s just a mundane detail…

Like the Truman show and Big Brother, people are drawn to other people, we enjoy the voyeurism. This might explain its success to date. Will it succeed in Ireland? Figures to date show it is slowly getting there. Can it be used as a successful Marketing tool? I think Lance just answered that one for us.



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