A recent Pear Analytics study finds that 40% of Twitter messages from a random sample of 2,000 tweets amount to “pointless babble.” Items like “I’m eating a sandwich” clog the micro-blogging service, followed closely by conversational messages between users at 37.5%.
In other words, nearly 80% of Twitter content amounts to little more than incidental conversation. Which should serve as a stark reminder that Twitter–and Facebook, MySpace and hundreds of other smaller social networks–are all about the social. Overeager advertisers looking to exploit low cost media platforms need to take a hard look at this communications environment: it’s hardly a welcoming audience to commercial messages.
Of course, not knowing the people of Pear Analytics or their credentials, I decided to grab ten tweets from this morning’s Element 79 feed and analyze them. In fairness, being an ad agency and not an individual attracts a disproportionate number of industry reps, job seekers and for some reason, people who tweet in Spanish and Mandarin, but that is mostly a result of an earlier non-discriminating ‘you follow us/we’ll follow you” policy: a basic no-no of effective social networking. Anyway, here are this morning’s ten:
2. @tkdainc: This pitches an artist who creates doe-eyed anime creatures sporting tatoos and furry hats with ears. This is Sales.
3. @redsquareagency: A link to camo-wearing, gun-toting Hispanic military men, two of whom sport this agency’s t-shirt. This is Sales, and depending on your perspective, funny or ill-advised.
4. @richandcom: A link to a news item about well-financed quick buck schemers hosing longterm investors. This is News, of the irrelevant and vaguely depressing sort.
5. @Oshyn_Inc: A link to a blog about “Live Server Dynaments.” I wandered at “Live Server” and they lost me at “Dynaments.” News. Kind of.
6. @GuyKawasaki: A funny link to Craig Damrauer’s witty morenewmath.com . This is Humor, and depending on your perspective, funny or time-wasting.
7. @charlottehrb: This is a Conversational Message between users.
8. @kevin7211: This, the first of three Tweets within three minutes, spotlights some ad guy selling mobile with a ‘context over content’ message. Wants to be News, But it’s Babble.
9. @drdue: Sales pitch for girdles. Bad targeting. Sales.
10. @LuckyIntern RT of an Adweek article. News.
So by the strict parameters of this carefully-conducted study, the predominance is split between Sales and News, both at 30%, with Babble and Conversational Messages at 20% each. Of course, by personal standards, the Kawasaki link was the only thing worth following. For a quick laugh.
Laughter definitely has human value, but it’s kind of hard to bill to a client…