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Debunking The “Twitter Is 40% Pointless Babble” Survey

August 27, 2009

Twitter 007I have seen this headline circulating over the last week on Twitter and the blogs and so I decided that  I would have a closer look at it.

 “Twitter Study Reveals Interesting results about Usage..40% are Pointless Babble” by Pear Analytics

Well this is my take on this “Headline” and its eye catching  emotive perspective. (by the way it is a good headline.. and it received a lot of attention and achieved great traction in social media mentions)

Guess what ..sounds like a normal share of typical “conversations” we have as human beings everyday.. some are deep and meaningful.. we pass some information along, we have some news to share and we also talk a bit about nothing in particular”


  • “Honey.. I am taking the dog for a walk”
  • “Hey..just popping down to the shop to get a paper”
  • “Went to gym tonite”
  • “Watched a great movie on the weekend”
  • Does my bum look big in this?

Isn’t Web 2.0 about 2 way conversations?.. comments.. passing on information, some news and hey maybe a bit of self promotion slips into the conversation from time to time.

So here are the statistics from the Twitter Pear Study, August 2009 

  • Total News 3.6%
  • Total Spam 3.75%
  • Total Self Promotion 5.75%
  • Total Pointless Babble 40.55%
  • Total Conversational 37.55%
  • Total Pass along Value 8.7%

Note: Notice the use of “Total”  why not use “News” instead of “Total News” It must have been written by marketing .. or was  it the PR Department?

So if we add together… News, Conversational, Pass Along and a bit of Self Promotion we have 56% of normal interesting and typical conversations on “Twitter” that would seem to closely parallel what we as normal human beings experience everyday.

What do you think?  “Is Twitter Dysfunctional?” or does it just reflect and mirror what we as humans experience as normal everyday?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2009 2:15 pm

    You know, I really think that there is a perception out there that Twitter is pointless. Just look at the most recent Verizon commercial. But, when used right, Twitter is a powerful tool used for connection and conversation.

  2. Guan permalink
    August 28, 2009 3:55 am

    Agree with blogpost. Twitter is a conversation medium, still in its infancy, and it will have its share of good and bad stuff, just like normal life. There’s a simple remedy to this – UNFOLLOW! However, even in the banal items, I sometimes discover gems of information. It’s never predictable, but it keeps the Twitter stream interesting.

  3. August 28, 2009 6:16 pm

    Twitter is about BUILDING RELATIONSHIP. It’s about CONNECTING. It’s about RELATING TO OTHERS and SHARING INSIGHTS and EXPERTISE. It is tough to understand THE VAUE of these things of you DON’T VALUE these things. Especially difficult for analytical men. Thanks for getting it Jeff! Thanks for sharing this article with me!

  4. Grant permalink
    August 30, 2009 2:41 am

    Concured Jeff, had the same thought whilst reading articles concerning the research

  5. Sarah permalink
    August 31, 2009 9:11 pm

    Note: Notice the use of “Total” why not use “News” instead of “Total News” It must have been written by marketing .. or was it the PR Department?

    It says “Total News” because they added up all the posts. If you look at the whitepaper, everything was broken down into half hour segments over 2 weeks. Hence, the need for Total, instead of partial.

  6. September 5, 2009 11:25 pm


    There is undoubtedly a ton of noise in the public twitter stream.

    Efficient use of the twitter tools & apps available greatly reduces one’s exposure to this noise…whether its specific groups of top people within tweetdeck, seesmic & tweetgrid – or – managing your followers manually with twittter-karma, or even an automated program is recommended once your follower count begins to swell.

    Sticking with like minded people is the best remedy.

    As @guan mentioned – the unfollow (& block) option is always right at your finger tips.

    Plus, if you like the noise, there’s never a shortage of MLM’ers & celebrities who gladly fill up your stream with…well, whatever.

  7. September 9, 2009 1:10 pm

    What is Twitter and How Can I Use Twitter?


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