Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Twitter: RSS For The Rest of Us
I don't normally comment about items taking place in social media, but an interesting article forwarded to me by a colleague has really intrigued me. (Not to say that I don't find social media interesting. I know that social media is one of the hottest topics in popular culture today. However, I just choose to focus on the hottest topics taking place in the mobile world.)
But I digress...
The well-publicized race to a million Twitter followers between CNN and Ashton Kutcher as well as reports of Twitter's meteoric growth rate seem to give the impression that "everyone's doin' it!"
But as Sysomos' In-Depth Look Inside the Twitter World shows us, there is a yawning chasm wider than the Grand Canyon between perception and reality. Sysomos analyzed data from over 11.5 million Twitter accounts and discovered some interesting highlights:
- 93.6% of users have less than 100 followers, while 92.4% follow less than 100 people
- 0.94% of Twitter users follow more than 1,000 people and only 0.68% have more than 1,000 followers
- 85.3% of all Twitter users post less than one update/day
- 1.13% Twitter users update more than average of 10 times a day
- 5% of users account for 75% of all activity
- 50.4% of Twitter users haven't updated their status in the last seven days
So what are all these 11.5 million people doing on Twitter? Apparently not much. Most people probably signed up just because they were curious but haven't thought much about it since. There are others too, perhaps that are active on Twitter, but in a passive way.
Twitter in many respects is like RSS for the rest of us. RSS has been around for a long time, but it's adoption has been minimal - mainly because the need to use RSS feed readers discourages the average person. On the other hand, Twitter automatically provides rivers of feeds. True, RSS provides a richer experience than does the 140 characters of Twitter. But let's face it. Most of us use RSS just to scan headlines and click links through to a web page. Isn't that what Twitter is too?
What about these 5% of hyperactive users? Sysomos did a follow-up analysis of these folks.
- Of the most active Twitter users updating more than 150 times/day, nearly all of them are bots operated by sources such as hotels, regional and national news services, regional weather services, the top news within Digg, games, anim services, tags within del.icio.us and financial aggregators.
- Who tweets the most, and why ?!
- Who is @moooris and can anyone who reads Japanese tell me what the heck is so compelling in this individual's life that he feels compelled to tweet an average of 108.64 tweets a day, or one tweet every 10 minutes of his waking life (assuming he gets by on 7 hours of sleep).
- ReTweets among the most active users accounted for 5.06% of their activity - about 20% higher than overall users which is 4.02%.
This latter point is very interesting, however. It confirms two of my suspicions:
(1) Hyperactive tweeters remain as impervious to anything anybody else is saying as the rest of us, and
(2) There really isn't a whole lot of stuff people are saying that's worth repeating.
So there you have it: an insight look at the world of Twitter. I look forward for Sysomos' next report on Twitter.