If I was alive back in 3000BC, I would have been the guy still struggling away with the pointy rock while everyone else was using Bronze Axe v2.0.  That said, even I have embraced the social media revolution and the Brave New World of Facebook and Twitter.  Of course, Malthouse beat me to both by a significant margin and they are still definitely better at the whole social media thing.

Facebook was invented comparatively way back in 2004.  Some have argued it started as it meant to go on – with a massive breach of people’s privacy when one of the founders hacked the university database.  Today, the second most visited site on the internet has over 800 million active users, projected revenues of over US$4 billion and more than 2000 employees. [1]

Only Google is ahead of in the Alexa ratings of most popular sites.  Facebook has nearly demolished rival MySpace, over-taking them in 2008 and now surging light years ahead.  These days MySpace is generally the preserve of anxious teenagers [2], indie rock bands and aspiring comics. 

The Malthouse Facebook page is regularly updated by Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor who is a bit of a social media fiend.  It is used to announce new beers and ciders, promote events and beer launches, and shamelessly plug this blog.  There are also photos – including the staff in traditional German gear for last weekend’s Octoberfest event [3] – thankfully no videos and a solitary rather odd review. 

Currently, the page has 978 likes and the next target is 1,000.  At the risk of having my bar tab immediately called in, I am going to propose that the 1,000th person to like the page will win a prize from Colin.

Often dubbed the SMS of the Internet, Twitter was invented in July 2006.  One of the founders is Biz Stone and a man with that name was destined from birth to either be an internet entrepreneur or a professional wrestler.  Twitter now has over 100 million active users and is the ninth most visited site according to Alexa.  It is much smaller than Facebook, with a little over 600 staff and projected revenue of US$141 million – just over a dollar a year for each user. 

Lady Gaga is the most followed account on Twitter with nearly fifteen million followers.  Rounding out the top ten is Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Shakira, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Ashton Kutcher.  Interestingly, seven of the top ten are women, two are men and one is unclear (Bieber).  None of them appear to have real jobs with eight singers, one politician and one unclear (Kardashian). 

Even the Dalai Lama is on Twitter.  He has 2,895,243 followers and in turn follows absolutely no-one, probably because he already knows everything.  Not everyone is a fan though with science fiction author Bruce Sterling famously opining that using Twitter for “literate communication” is “about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite the Iliad.” [4]

The Malthouse Twitter attempts some “literate communication” with announcements about new beers, details of events, occasional specials and free stuff, and even trying to help one gentleman of size find his hat which was misplaced at the recent Octoberfest.  At the time of writing, the last tweet [5] was berating the journalist John Campbell (not the John Campbell who works behind the bar) about a lack of coverage of the Wellington gas outage a few years ago. 

In New Zealand, our Twitter numbers are naturally far more modest.  As far as I can tell, no one has got anywhere near a million followers.  For example, our most famous Tweeter, Cory Jane, has 37,218, John Key has 30,435, Epic Beer has 9,707 and Phil Goff has 5,014. 

Currently, Malthouse has 1,463 followers and the next target is 1,500.  At the risk of having my bar tab immediately called in, I am going to propose that the 1,500th person to follow Malthouse on Twitter will win a prize from Colin.

Facebook and Twitter have been credited with playing a role in a number of recent popular rebellions including Egypt, Tunisia and Iran.  They also have the added advantage of annoying the French.  Nicolas Sarkozy’s Government has banned French television or radio news programmes from saying the words “Facebook” or “Twitter” as that apparently constitutes promoting a commercial enterprise.  The words can only be mentioned if the story is directly about the products. 

The Daily Mail noted:

“In preventing French news broadcasters from mentioning Facebook and Twitter it means that the radio and television stations will not be able to urge their listeners or viewers to ‘follow us on Twitter’, for example – something that is becoming increasingly visible on other countries’ news channels across Europe and beyond.    They will only be able to provide ambiguous instructions, such as ‘find us on social networking sites’.”

Finally, again according to Alexa, the Malthouse website, including this humble blog, are ranked a very respectable 3,350,397th in the world. 

[1] Most are employed to mess up the format every couple of months just as user finally get

used to the last set of ‘improvements’.
[2] Ironically expressing their fierce individuality by continually posting the artistic and

musical feats of others,
[3] Starring young Danny enjoying his leather pants just a little too much…
[4] For younger readers, a ‘CB radio’ is a transmitting device used before cellphones were

invented and a ‘book’ is a papery thing we used to look at before the internet came along. 

The Iliad is a very famous Ancient Greek book which has been flagrantly plagiarised in any

number of recent swords and sandals movies.
[5] For older readers, a ‘tweet’ is a message put on Twitter by the account holder.  Try to

think of it as a post card on the screen.

Cheers

Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine

Links

Malthouse on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Malthouse/7084276173
Malthouse on Twitter – http://twitter.com/malthouse
Daily Mail Article –

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394558/French-ban-words-Twitter-Facebook-used-TV-ra

dio.html#ixzz1c1NaI5oj
Malthouse on Alexa – http://www.alexa.com/search?q=themalthouse.co.nz&r=home_home&p=bigtop
Real Beer – http://www.realbeer.co.nz 
Beer and Brewer Magazine – http://www.beerandbrewer.com/