Ronnie05's Blog

Demystifying Twitter (Part I)

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on June 30, 2009

A Report from Harvard Business Publishing house categorizes and says that Twitter resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network.

Twitter has attracted tremendous attention from the media and celebrities, but there is much uncertainty about Twitter’s purpose. Is Twitter a communications service for friends and groups, a means of expressing yourself freely, or simply a marketing tool?

Here’s sampling two independent studies on the Twittersphere (The Twitter eco-system):

1. A study on the user demographics and usage phenomenon by Harvard Business Publishing (Sampling about 3 lakh Twitter users)
2. Another study by Hubspot on activity levels of Twitter Users. (Sampling about 4.5 million users)

User Demographics and usage styles
Compared against other online social networks; 80% Twitter users have atleast 1 follower/following. This is in contrast to the online social portals, which register 60 – 65% single friend status. The other marked departure from social networking standards is the following/follower pattern. Most of the online social networks activity is focusssed around women, where as in Twitter, the activity is centred on men.

It might point to the fact that content produced by Men on twitter is perceived to be more compelling than a typical social network and content produced by women is less compelling (because of lack of photo sharing, detailed biographies etc)

Twitter Followers

The Twitter usage pattern is also very different from a typical on line social network and a Twitter user contributes very rarely –> The median lifetime tweets per user is one which translates to over half the twitter users retweeting less than once every 74 days.Twitter Users IIAt the same time there is a small contingent of users who are very active. Specifically, the top 10% of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets. On a typical online social network, the top 10% of users account for 30% of all production. To put Twitter in perspective, consider an unlikely analogue – Wikipedia. There, the top 15% of the most prolific editors account for 90% of Wikipedia’s edits ii. In other words, the pattern of contributions on Twitter is more concentrated among the few top users than is the case on Wikipedia, even though Wikipedia is clearly not a communications tool. This implies that Twitter’s resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network.
Twitter Followers II

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  1. Twitted by ronnie051178 said, on June 30, 2009 at 8:10 am

    […] This post was Twitted by ronnie051178 […]


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