Friday, June 12, 2009

Reflecting on a New Report on the Twittersphre

One of my colleagues have send me the "State of the Twittersphere June 2009" report.
The report from HubSpot is a short 8 page, number-packed, report on Twitter.

Key findings about users:
- 25% have bio (75% do not!)
- 31% have location (70% not!) (and location is just a text field)
- 20% have home page (80% not)

- 45% have tweeted at least once (55% never tweeted).
- 47% have at least one follower (53% have zero followers).
- 45% are following at least one account (55% are not following any one).

The numbers are based on a 4.5 million data base that HubSpot keeps from their twitter.grader.com service. (This is a nice tool that tells you how "good" you are in twitter).

Here's my grade:
One should note that these numbers stem from people who went and signed up (an easy singup) with Grader. These people are more technical and savvy than your common person. Meaning: actual number of Twitter users are much lower. Bottom line: people sign up to Twitter and don't use it. Is twitter hype?

I'm not a big user of Twitter myself so the following comments is more questions and ideas than answers:

1. Twitter is a technology that allow real time tracking. Such technology can be used in many ways. following what people do is just one thing.

2. Following something (or someone), and following many things (or man many someones) can be very powerful. Think: allowing students to ask questions in the class using the same system. Think twitting people the movie is about to start, or they have a seat in the restaurant.

3. Following your remote friends and knowing what they do every minute is interesting for 2 days. Then it is peeping a bit (still could be interesting but for how long?). People who write well, write interesting things. With 120 people that I follow I get ... how shell I say it... junk. I need some kind of a way to read just the interesting things.

4. Unified tools for publishing such as www.ping.fm -- such services makes life easier if you are on the publishing side.

5. When Facebook acts more like Twitter? Why do you need Twitter? At the same time, when Facebook acts more like Twitter and hides its Facebook application -- why do you need Facebook (just use Twitter).

6. A year ago when Twitter was new, it was a direct way to connect with the few people that created value. Now, with more and more people, I'm not sure what is the value for me. Things have changed.

7. I do like to follow myself (@yesha) via RSS reader -- what was published about me. See this trick.

8. For those looking into the field. I recommend also looking at plurk. A twitter-like server with a twist.

9. If you have a burning question ("is Gmail down?") you can use search.twitter.com. It will show you updated answers about your question.

10. There is still a lot to learn about this real time medium.