Thursday, August 13, 2009

Here's some pointless babble for you right here

Oh God, once again the MSM examines Twitter and finds it lacking:

Study: 40 percent of Twitter is "pointless

Twitter critics complain the microblogging network is filled with time-wasting chatter. Twitter evangelists, however, say it's an indispensable tool for social conversation and news.

A new study by Pear Analytics of San Antonio, Texas, gives both camps something to chew on, although the largest portion of tweets was, sure enough, "pointless babble."

The marketing and business intelligence firm recently sampled the Twitter stream every 30 minutes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for 10 days. From the resulting sample of 2,000 tweets, Pear Analytics found:

- 40.55 percent were "pointless babble," which Pear defined as the "I am eating a sandwich now" tweets."

-37.55 percent were "conversational," or "tweets that go back and forth between folks, almost in an instant message fashion, as well as tweets that try to engage followers in conversation, such as questions or polls."

-8.7 percent had "pass along value," the tweets that are re-tweets passed along from member to member.

- 5.85 percent were "self promotion," messages about companies, products or services.

- 3.75 percent were spam, the "See how I got 3,000 followers in one day" tweets.

- 3.60 percent were news from mainstream national media outlets such as
CNN or Fox.

The report recommends the use of Twitter filtering tools such as Philtro to weed out the babble. It also concludes that "as Twitter continues to evolve, not only as a brand, but from a user's perspective, it is likely that the usage patterns will change."

So wait a minute. That means that, by definition, every Twitter update that isn't conversational, a retweet, self-promotion, spam, or a link to national news is "pointless babble"? Well, fuck you very much, "Pear Analytics." My fucking bon mots are little nuggets of joy and wisdom. Maybe Pear Analytics' stupid updates are pointless babble, but I've got something to say.

In all seriousness, I resisted Twitter for a long time because, like pretty much everyone who doesn't use it, I didn't see the point. (Check out the SFGate Comments, BTW, if you want to see what the mouth-breathing point-missing crowd really thinks.) But now I like it a lot. It's a snapshot of what people are doing and thinking. Some of the updates are really funny. Some of them provide valuable information. So I guess calling everything that doesn't fit into one of your little categories "pointless babble," Pear Analytics, just rubbed me the wrong way.

If I ever need something analyzed, you're the last people I'm gonna call.

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