Services and brands enter mainstream pop culture when they:1. Reach critical mass, and/or 2. Provide value in a way that makes their usage critical

Use Facebook and Twitter as examples. From print to television, both are now routinely included as informational sources and communications tools (for instance, CNN's in-show advertisements for their Twitter accounts and ESPN / Sportscenter's ticker promotion for their Twitter accounts). Then there are services that have great online popularity but are far too geeky (or perhaps irrelevant) to go mainstream... and thus reach offline popularity. Despite being the most popular URL shortener - remains an online utility that is essentially a tool usage on more popular sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Perhaps that is changing. The below image is from ESPN The Magazine and includes a reference to a URL. It serves a purpose for ESPN: it is there to save space (and likely also not directly promote the website's brand).

But do most people know what to do with this? There isn't even an 'http://' before the '' mention!