Tweeters are from Mars non-Tweeters from Venus

June 12, 2009 • Business, Social networking • Views: 2054

Last days there has been a lot of turmoil about the huge amount of Twitter accounts that are hardly used. So what? How many daily printed news papers are really being read? How many blogs are well visited? Almost everybody has teletext on his TV, but how many people are using it? Should we stop providing all those things? In my opinion not. As long as the people who are using it have fun nothing is wrong with it. Based on the heavy traffic Twitter is facing all the time, f.e. 32 million people visiting April alone, there seems to be something going on. It looks like people (probably the non-users) just cannot (under)stand the current Twitter success.

This week at once the Harvard research got world wide attention because the BBC published a critical article with the title: “Twitter hype punctured by study”. The 1st of June the Harvard researchers already published their results on their blog: New Twitter Research: Men Follow Men and Nobody Tweets”. So what is all the turmoil about?

Do normal rules not apply on Twitter?

It occurs that on Twitter a small group of users is very active. Specifically, the top 10% of Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets. On a typical online social network, the top 10% of users seem to account for 30% of all production. Knowing that in our society in general we consider that the 80/20 rule applies, there is a difference on Twitter.

In fact I think this difference is rather easy to be explained. One of the drawbacks of Twitter at the moment is the amount of “bots”. Too many people are focused on creating accounts with as many followers as possible. To achieve this you need world wide coverage. Twitter is more than other services a real time thing. If you post your message it will be read within less than an hour time. Afterwards hardly anybody will notice it anymore. Therefore, people are automizing there Tweets. They use tools to send there Tweets at predefined moments and they also Tweet the same thing several times a day or week. Even worse are the fully automated “machines” that are spoiling Twitter by following almost everybody. Although Twitter really tries to fight these practices they are fact. I guess that this is dramatically influencing the overall statistics.

Twitter is being used mainly for broadcasting according to researchers

Based on their “statistics” researchers claim that Twitter is a one to many medium, more a broadcasting than a communication medium. Partly this is true, especially knowing the grade of automization. On the other hand I truly believe that a huge amount of Twitter users really tries to interact. So, let’s focus on them.

Assuming that there is a vast amount of intensive Twitter “communicators”, being people who interact on Twitter, we could compare the current discussion with another “rule” in our society:

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

Probably we could also say: Tweeters are from Mars, non-Tweeters are from Venus.

Why do people want to understand Twitter, if they don’t?

If you don’t understand Twitter why bother? I noticed that several of my Twitter friends have to explain why they use Twitter to their non-Tweeting friends. Believe me, that is not going to work. Just like in between Mars and Venus their are some hard to solve common misunderstandings.

The way I am using Twitter

Below I will show you how I am using Twitter both private and for my company GOYELLO and what is the gain for me. It is up to you to define the value of it. In fact I am using Twitter to:

  • Stay in touch
  • Follow the latest news/trends
  • Find and meet likewise people
  • Share knowledge
  • Generate business opportunities
  • Market our business

Stay in touch
First of all I use Twitter to stay in touch with family, friends and former colleagues. Because I am not living in my home country Twitter decreases the distance to people I know in The Netherlands. And for them it is a lot easier to follow what I am doing here.

Follow the latest news/trends
I defined several searches within my Twitter clients. I am f.e. very much interested in everything about outsourcing. Several times a day I have a look to see whether there is some relevant news about this subject. You could call this is some lazy way of an RSS Reader. The main difference, and meanwhile advantage, is that somebody else already decided that this is relevant news.

Find and meet likewise people
If I notice that somebody is posting relevant information I start following this person. I will retweet great news items and interesting posts to make that my followers have access to this knowledge as well.

Share knowledge
When I notice that somebody is looking for some knowledge that either I or one of my colleagues could provide, then I try to answer the question. Besides we use Twitter to announce our new blog posts. This gives a lot more people access to the knowledge we share through different blogs.

Generate business opportunities
By answering questions on Twitter, retweeting and looking for interaction with likewise people new contacts start to grow. This can lead to all kind of new opportunities. Through Twitter I already met several people in real life, people I would have never met otherwise. In some cases this already lead to new business opportunities. Twitter enables my company to service a much bigger geographical area.

Market our business
Twitter is a social network with its own rules. Too much marketing is not appreciated. By sharing knowledge, posting news, answering questions and looking for interaction I firmly believe that Twitter also has a marketing function. You only shouldn’t abuse it and that is may be currently happening too much.

To summarize

I believe that Twitter has or can have a lot of good sides. The main risk is that people will not see them due to all today’s abuse of the service. Besides Twitter is also rather time consuming. If you are looking for a quick win, then you shouldn’t join Twitter. As mentioned before Twitter is a social network with its own rules and it takes a while to find your place there. Besides you will have to share to deserve some attention. But is this different in the real world? May be in the end it will occur that Twitter represents our society in a similar way as many other media. Like stated in another post I found this week people are also on Twitter mostly sheep, following the others.

The above are just some thoughts that were generated this week after reading all the “new findings”. I am curious how others think about it. Feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below or discuss with me on Twitter via @PetersOpinion.

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