Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Twitter debate revisited

(By Richard Holway 5.00pm Tuesday 18th Aug 09) Thanks for the comments on my Twitter’s ‘pointless babble’ post this morning. Twitter really does seem to evoke strong passions. Some said Pear Analytics (who did the original study) were peddling their own wares. So let’s quote another source. The tech blog Gizmodo recently did a study into what the Twitter community would look like if it only had 100 users. “There would be about 20 dead accounts, and about 50 people who only tweeted every other week. Only five users would have the full complement of 100 followers and five ‘loudmouths’ would account for 75 per cent of all traffic.”

The problem with Twitter is those ‘loudmouths’. Facebook seems to have a convention that ‘one status post per day is about right’. I like that. 10 status posts an hour (which some seem to manage on Twitter) is just plain boring.

Several readers suggested that searching for the ‘nuggets’ was worth the effort. I could setup alerts for certain topics but, bluntly, the things I want to know about are the unexpected! I’m not quite sure how I setup an alert for that!

Another reader suggested that >90% ‘pretty useless content’ beats a Google search. With due respect to our readers, I think that misses the point. If Google can return something useful in the first few lines, I can’t give a damn about the 988 following pages of useless content.

I note that today Stephen Fry has been voted #1 Best Twitter user. I follow Fry too although I don’t really understand why! Fry posts at the rate of about 5 an hour. Latest 3 gems (around 4.00pm today) were “Just arriving at Glyndebourne. Tristan starts in half an hour. Be over by 9.30. Sucker for punishment, me ...”, “Tho, if we're getting things off our chests, what most gets me frothing is any request phrased: "Pretty please with a cherry on top". Vomit.” And “Mind you, Twitter could happily lose the fatuous Facebook style "I just gave you a Present/High Five/Hug. You should send me a gift back ;)".

If this is the output from the “#1 Best Twitter User”, I think I can safely rest my case!

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