Here in Sweden there has been a small but very active group of people microblogging using Jaiku for quite a long time. Most people were from internet startups, media and marketing industry, bloggers etc. Jonas Leijon created the first Swedish microblog service Bloggy (still in beta), which is very much like Pownce and Jaiku. The swedish word for microblogging (“mikroblogga”) become one of the official new words to the Swedish language last year.
In the US, Japan and everywhere except Sweden and Finland (Jaiku is from Finland, therefore it has more users in Finland and Sweden) Twitter has become the microblogging platform of choice, growing it’s user base much faster than the competition. All three services Jaiku, Bloggy and Twitter have had some users here in Sweden but it was not at all mainstream. Until now.
Last week, Twitter reached critical mass and spread like wildfire. Numerous people got in touch with us to report that many of their non-tech friends suddenly registered at Twitter.com. Over the course of not more than ten days, Microblogging went mainstream in Sweden.
So what happened? We blogged about how Mumbai was a big step towards mainstream for Twitter in November. We were not alone: VA, SSBD, What’s Next etc and our own blog post was actually given some national media publicity by SVD. In December there was an earthquake in Skåne here in Sweden and microblogs was of course faster than traditional media. Which gave some media publicity, again. Some journalists and others who are fast to respond to trends began to sign up for Jaiku, Twitter and Bloggy. But it still was not mainstream.
The last couple of weeks some big changes happened. Newspapers started to use Twitter, political partys and politicians too and a lot of non-tech people signed up, inviting their friends in the very tight viral loop provided by Twitter. Special hashtags only used by Swedes is another new iniative (#svpt), as well as a site dedicated to Swedish Twitter users with a list with Swedish Twitter-users and Companys/organisations in Sweden that use Twitter.
Why Twitter and not Jaiku or the Swedish alternative Bloggy.se? Jaiku’s growth is severely limited by Google requiring an invitation for new users to sign up. Pownce is gone and Bloggy is not yet very known. Even if the market seems very crowded, Twitter is actually without serious competition.
Adoption is not yet as earth-shifting as the Facebook-craze of last mid-year, but it’s a start. As Hans Kullin wrote in his blog post: The next election in Sweden is in 2010. If microblogging already is becoming mainstream, at that time microblogging has reached a large number of users here in Sweden. Is Twitter going to be as important for Swedish political parties as it was for Obama?
In our humble opinions: Undoubtedly yes.