As Twitter increases in popularity I thought I’d spend my Sunday morning searching out some anecdotal evidence to back up my gut feel – just how popular, how much is hype, where’s it all going, where is it going sideways and how might one get it right. Here are a few of the articles that helped me get to the bottom of things:
50 Million Twits: 50 million unique visitors worldwide
A TechCrunch post this week, Twitter Flew Above The 50 Million Uniques Mark For the First Time in July, reported “ComScore now counts it as the No. 47 largest site in the world, increasing from the No.52 spot in June and (surpassing the BBC and Craigslist)”. and “It is important to note that since more than half of Twitter users don’t even go to the Website and use Twitter apps to consume and publish Tweets, Twitter’s total audience is even larger. But clearly Twitter is still growing.”
Pointless Twits: How Useful is Twitter Content
A post on Pear Analytics by Ryan Kelly, Twitter Study Reveals Interesting Results About Usage – 40% is “Pointless Babble” analyzes 2,000 Tweets on the public timeline over a two week period in a white paper study. The exercise categorized Tweets into 6 buckets – News, Spam, Self-Promotion, Pointless Babble, Conversational and Pass-along value.
Pointless Babble won with 40.55% of the total tweets captured; however, Conversational was a very close second at 37.55%, and Pass-Along Value was third (albeit a distant third) at 8.7% of the tweets captured.
Corporate Finance Twits: Twitter Use by Investor Relations
A post this week on Q4blog – Report reveals early adopters using Twitter for Investor Relations discusses Social Media adoption outside of Marketing and PR.
Key statistics revealed include that of the 80 public companies surveyed, 55% are using Twitter for investor relations and 62% provided a link to their Q2 earnings release.
Tennis Twits: Important. Player Notice. Twitter Warning
A post on the BBC News site yesterday Roddick questions Twitter ruling, mentions World number five Andy Roddick describing attempts at the US Open to regulate players’ updates on social networking site Twitter as “lame”.
The Tennis Integrity Unit warns that Twitter messages could violate anti-corruption rules, and that tweeting is not allowed on court during matches.
They add that sending “certain sensitive information concerning your match or other matches and/or players should be avoided. Depending on the information sent out this could be determined as the passing of ‘inside information.’
Football Twits: NFL clampdown on Twitter and Other Social Media
An Associated Press article on the NFL.com site Teams struggle with policies on Twitter usage as site’s popularity grows states: “The only tweets during the Miami Dolphins’ Saturday scrimmage will come from the officials’ whistles.
The Dolphins are at the forefront of an NFL clampdown on Twitter and other social media, with new restrictions imposed on players, reporters and even spectators.”
The general fear across many teams is that opponents might gain a competitive advantage from even the briefest tweet about injuries, personnel decisions, trick plays or food.
Sports Media writers expressed a different fear, “It would be a shame for a beat writer to get beaten on a story by a 12-year-old in the stands who is allowed to blog” – the view of The Professional Football Writers of America.
Movie Twits: Tweets Don’t Equal Ticket Sales
In a ReadWriteWeb article Twitter Effect’s Power Overstated when it Comes to Making and Breaking Movies on Aug 28, Sarah Perez discusses how “the early buzz on Twitter – much of it negative – that caused these movies to crash and burn”
The post concludes that “the online chatter taking place on the popular microblogging site, while still an important vector for studying sentiment, is not powerful enough on its own to truly impact the overall success or failure of a movie”
Teen Twits: Twitter’s Youth Sees Growth
Another ReadWriteWeb post by Sarah Perez, Teens Don’t Tweet, May they Start Soon notes that teens are more likely to use text messaging than Twitter for keeping up with their friends and that only 11% of Twitter users are aged 12 to 17, according to comScore.
Commentary to this post suggested that “teens don’t tweet because they are already using Facebook, which has everything they’re looking for. Twitter would just be extra work for them” Another comment pointed out that “there were few kids on Twitter in 2008 because it was being used by people who were already sophisticated social media users and who had a blog/website. I see Twitter as both a leading edge information source and a networking tool.”
The commentary to this post is as valuable as the post itself and worth paying attention to.
17 Twits: Dipping your toe in the water
Another post on DoshDosh, 17 Ways You Can Use Twitter: A Guide for Beginners, Marketers and Business Owners provides a useful brainstorm of ways that Twitter can be used in a business context – event updates, customer notifications, prospecting and hiring. A useful listing to dip your toe in the water.
Strategic Twits: Successful Social Media Strategies
In her article, 5 steps to a successful social media strategy, Amy Sample Ward discusses how a Social Media strategy should serve your organizational goals – a principle that organizations seem to forget in their feet first efforts to adopt Twitter, Facebook, Review Sites and Online Communities.
Each step comes with a dialog and a number of links for more information:
Step 3, Strategy, has 5 important sub-steps of things to Identify –
- The audience or community you want to engage
- The resources currently available within your organization
- What success will look like
- What technologies are most appropriate
- What measures of success can be used
Whether you are for-profit or non-profit there are some sensible tips here.
Golden Twits: Following thousands of people is just ridiculous
TechCrunch this week discussed Twitter’s Golden Ratio (That No One Likes To Talk About) – specifically the ratios between the number of followers a user has, the number of tweets the’ve made and the number of people that user is following.
Worth reading and worth considering when your Twitter strategy becomes more successful and pertinent to your organizational goals – particularly if you are considering an Online Influencers program.
Monitoring Twits: Social Media Monitoring Tools
While seeking out statistics for this post I noticed that the latest Neilsen report states that Twitter is enjoying a 1382% monthly growth… back in February 2009 – a somewhat ironic date in a long and distant past that made me ask the question is traditional market research the best place to pick up the latest buzz? Or can you get 80% of the value for 20% of the cost using well thought out Social Media Monitoring tools.
Ken Burbary’s Wiki of Social Media Monitoring Solutions provides a Master List of useful tools ranging across the board from the most simple and free like Twitfeel to the more expensive full service solutions such as TNS Cymfony. The list also includes my own OpenMic Social Media Analysis solution.
I’m a Twit: My Conclusions
I still maintain my geeky belief that Twitter is a protocol (like Facebook is a set of permissions) – Twitter is a communications channel that can be used in a broad range of ways for both personal and business reasons. It is at its roots a subscribable broadcast mechanism. The beauty is its API that has allowed a variety of applications where its content can be consumed. The crowdsourcing of #hashtags, its use as a pointer system via Bit.ly, photos on Twitpic and the ability to address other @users has allowed it to really flower, yet we have yet to see the killer apps and revenue models appear.
In the meantime, work out what you are trying to achieve from a business perspective and develop your Twitter tactics as part of a broader social media strategy. And listening to the buzz can be as valuable as broadcasting.