ESPN’s John Skipper on CNBC: Great Interview

Caught this great interview from CNBC with ESPN’s John Skipper from the cable show going on this week in Boston. Too often these video vignettes are about as illuminating as a sideline reporter asking a coach questions at halftime. But take a minute to watch this one, CNBC’s Julia Boorstin asks some good questions, including one about the new Twitter partnership, and also whether or not ESPN will ever offer WatchESPN as an a la carte option (spoiler: they won’t, but watch to see how emphatically Skipper says no).

Why Do Some People Still Question Twitter?

I still encounter people that say that Twitter is a fad, and will soon pass. I imagine that some day it will be relegated to the technology trash bin as so many technologies have, but I doubt that is in its near future.

Last Saturday while watching a football game at the local pub the person next to me proclaimed that only narcissist movie stars and athletes used it. Aside from being amazed that he knew what narcissist meant, I was a bit surprised since it has become so prevalent. But his opinion is one that I still hear, although less and less, but even MIT linguist Noam Chomsky recently blasted social media as “superficial, shallow evanescent”

This doubting just goes in the face of the rising tide that is Twitter. Just this week the New York Times ran a piece on how the Republican Party has embraced Twitter as a tool for the next presidential election after dismissing it as unimportant in 2008 at a time when the Democrats had adopted the technology.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said a week ago that it is now seeing 250 million tweets a day, up from 100 million at the start of the year. During an interview at Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco he also said that the company now has 100 million users, with half logging in every day.

CNBC has a brief article, or rather a dreaded slide show, called the world’s 10 most tweeted moments. The article does not state where the info comes from or why it said that when the news of Steve Jobs death broke it averaged 6,000 tweets a second but that did not make the top ten, and then goes and lists others with less tweets per second in the top 10 list.

Still the list provides a good look at what people find the most interesting/important news and events to tweet, with natural disasters and sports being the clear cut leaders. While an outsider might think that most tweeting is done by athletes, politicians and movie stars the huge numbers that are generated, and their global aspect, show how ubiquitous this technology is becoming, and according to the article there are roughly 5 billion tweets a month already.

The list starts with Osama Bin Laden’s death at #10 with 5,106 tweets per second and then in descending order includes the East Coast Earthquake, last game of the 2011 NBA finals, Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Champion League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United, 2011 BET Awards, New Years Day in Japan 2011, Brazil eliminated from Copa America, and the FIFA Women’s Cup.

The top tweeting event, I have to admit, caught me by surprise. It was Beyonce revealing her baby bump at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2011, with 8,868 tweets per second. Of course considering that she has roughly 2 million followers on Twitter that should probably be no surprise.

Still sports is hugely represented, and Twitter clearly understands its importance to sports and vice versus. It has published a guide on how to use the technology and pointed out best practices from teams that have already embraced the technology. A look at what the company can be read in a nice piece written in MSR by John Evan Frook.

When you look at the numbers from the CNBC piece the first few are fairly close and then it starts to spike upward, with the numbers growing at a fairly rapid pace. The growth has no real time line as some of the higher tweeting events are early in the year

I think that it is a fairly safe prediction that within a year, most if not all of these numbers will be crushed by newer events such as the Superbowl, the BCS Championship game, election news and the natural disaster of the day. The list shows that the technology has a broad, deep and growing appeal with strong hooks in both world events and sports, both local and world. Anybody or organization ignoring this risks marginalizing themselves to important segments of the public.