The lowdown on Twitter: pointless babble?

But 120,000 stars-truck Indians might not agree

Those who have been watching the rise and rise of Twitter as a social networking phenomenon and wondering if they are passé  if they don’t join in,  taking their business with them, can relax and take stock this week: San Antonio, Texas (US)-based research firm Pear Analytics has just released a study which finds that    almost half   the ‘tweets’ people  share, are ‘pointless babble’.

The company captured over 2000 public tweets over a two week period and categorized them into 6 buckets from news, spam and self promotion to pointless babble, conversational and pass-along value. They rated 40.55 % as pointless babble, 37.55 % to have some conversational value and a distant third -- 8.7 % to have pass along value.

Pear Analytics’ findings debunk the notion widely held by Twitter critics that a lot of tweets are just shameless self promotion. Not so, they say:   many promotional tweets have a service of some kind to offer.   However   the study also finds that news tweets make up just 3.6% of the total and this is about the size of spam ( 3.75%).   Another study  by Gizmodo quoted n by Pear finds that twitter has a lot of ‘loudmouths’ -- 5 % of twitterers contribute 75 percent of all tweets. 


Interestingly the study also quotes TechCrunch to say, teenagers don’t tweet too much. That might be true in the US of A but in India ( according to ComScore) ,  the most   active age group  of twitterers is 15-24 in male category and  25-34  among females.

There are  around 120,000 unique Indian twitterers   every month and the number is growing fast for Twitter to create a special   India shortcode: 5566511. Using this shortcode means not having to pay international SMS charges when using Twitter from India. Going by Indian tweets that make it to the print media, the overwhelming interest is in the tweets of Bollywood biggies and page three people like Priyanka Chopra, Mallika Sherawat and AR Rahman.

Serious tweets to reel in business? Na! Not here, not yet.

 Aug 17 2009