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Garry Platt

EEF

Senior Consultant

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Twitter hype or press hype or academic hype?

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A recent study by a Harvard Team of academics published a series of statistics relating to Twitter. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8089508.stm The press got hold of this data presented the facts as though they were a damning indictment of Twitter. However, facts are worth exploring and comparing with other fields of knowledge management and distribution. Here are just three: Fact 1: Just 10% of Twitter users generate more than 90% of the content. Looking at books what percentage of the population has material published? Well, having Googled for some facts it would appear considerably less than 0.00001%. So: 0.00001% of people generate 100% of the material published. Does Twitter look bad now? No, it looks positively empowering. Fact 2: More than half of all people using Twitter updated their page less than once every 74 days. Does this imply a diminution of quality? No, rather a reflection of lack of attraction by some people to the service or an absence of anything to say. Does this have any implication? Not so far as I can see. Fact 3: "Based on the numbers, Twitter is certainly not a service where everyone who has seen it has instantly loved it," said Bill Heil, a graduate from Harvard Business School who carried out the work. I can’t think of any service or product that has gone mainstream that doesn’t have this trend attached to it. Here are just a few I can think of: Desk Top Publishing E Mail Colonic irrigation Direct Debit Diesel Engines Colonic irrigation Mobile Phones Men’s Aftershave Thongs Colonic irrigation This study goes on, but when explored it has nothing really destructive or negative to say about Twitter. But some people only read at a depth measured in microns and to really see what this report states you have to get behind the hype of the media and the bald facts to actually get an objective view. And that view is nothing like the press or this group of academics are promoting.

2 Responses

  1. Trying to create fire where there is no smoke
    Hi Gary
    A great article ‘debunking’ the bias in a well-known publication.
    Twitter is not the ‘universal solution’ to communication or social networking but a unique channel that has its plusses and minuses – much like all other channels.

    Participation in web 2.0 activities – communities, forums and Twitter time seem to comply with the 90-9-1 ‘rule’ or theory – where in essence 1% actively contribute and 90% sit on the side lines. Just look at the read stats on any post here on TZ or any other forum and the ration between ‘lurkers’ and ‘protagonists’ is significantly different.

    Mike
    twitter.com/rapidbi 😉

  2. Twitter usage – a very useful communication tool
    Twitter has been a great aid to our marketing plan. We have a list of followers who are mostly in the UK. We utilise twitter to connect with our target demographic, find out what other people in our niche (as well as other niches) are doing and generally create greater brand awareness. We inform our followers of any special offers in our course curriculum as well as any special social events. In September, we’re running the College of Public Speaking Corporate Challenge 2009 and we’ve been inviting our friends and followers to participate in what will be yet another extraordinary speaking event. For more details: College of Public Speaking Corporate Challenge 2009 Invitation Regards Vince

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Garry Platt

Senior Consultant

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