The State of Twitter

by: Ben Friedle

It's no secret that Twitter has made a huge splash in our world, recently jumping from tech community darling to full blown mainstream awareness. Since it first began to gain popularity, supporters and critics alike have debated its usefulness.

While it is foolish to simply write off Twitter as a number of people both inside and out of the tech community have, the proliferation of useless "what I'm doing" tweets do get annoying. But is Twitter simply getting the wave of fallout that anything that reaches critical mass receives?

The glut of "OMG, I am still waiting for my food" type tweets have certainly taken center stage as the biggest complaint levied against Twitter, but that doesn't diminish its value. Twitter is a communication tool; a way for people to transmit information to a filtered group of people. To argue that that kind of tool isn't useful is uncreative. Don't look at whether or not Twitter should be used, but what Twitter should be used for.

This leads to a very informative article over at Harvard Business.org. During a study, they uncovered several interesting trends, such as that 80% of the userbase follows or is followed by at least one person, and that men typically have more followers the women, something that is counter to almost every other social networking community in which you find that women typically have more followers, both male and female, than men.

Perhaps most interesting, however, is that the 10% most prolific "Tweeters" account for over 90% of all tweets, which begs the question: Is Twitter a means for everyone to communicate? Or is it instead a "many-to-one" publishing network, more akin to a blog? It is a very interesting article, and a highly recommended read.

Image by Robert Scoble Flickr CC

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