Twitter is 40% 'Pointless Babble.' Wait, that's it?

Surprising that the ratio of worthless posts to useful content isn't higher...

In a new study conducted by Pear Analytics of San Antonio Texas, approximately 40% of posts on Twitter can be described as "pointless babble." According to SFGate's "The Tech Chronicles," the study sampled the Twitter stream every 30 minutes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for 10 days. The sample of 2000 tweets were put into six categories:

40.55% "Pointless babble." Pear also defined these as the "'I am eating a sandwich' tweets."

37.55% "Conversational." Questions, polls, back and forth dialog in an almost instant message fashion.

8.7% "Pass along value." Re-tweets passed along from other Twitter members.

5.85% "Self promotion." Tweets about members' products, services, shows, or companies.

3.75% Spam.

3.60% News from mainstream media sources like CNN. It's pretty sad this is below the spam category.

It's an interesting study that while slightly depressing isn't all that surprising. I actually would have guessed the ratio of worthless posts to useful content would be even higher.

So let's just say, for the sake of argument, that if Pear took samples after 5 p.m. (to include the midnight party tweets), the "pointless babble" category would be increased 10%. Then, let's also say that a third of the "conversational" tweets are also pointless. In an online forum, that's a pretty safe estimation of off-topic posts that don't really add to the value of a thread. Then I'd guess that half of "pass along" tweets are worthless repeats too. How many "Michael Jackson died" posts did you read last month? Finally, Spam is something we could all live without. So in my logic, it is actually more like 71.17% of tweets that may as well be about sandwiches. Thoughts?

Hey, speaking of which, follow GeekTech on Twitter.

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Mike Keller

PC World (US online)
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