Here we go again. We have just recovered from the Pear Analytics study that revealed that 40% of all tweets are pointless babble. And now there is a new study out that says micro blogging is “mundane”. Researchers from Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT), Google and Elisa have studied 400,000 updates on the Finnish micro blog Jaiku and the conclusions are that:
As a consequence of the pressure to publish, most postings are mundane; The top 5 most frequent postings are “working”, “home,” “work”, “lunch” and “sleeping”.
Jaiku is a shadow of what it used to be before Google bought it and then abandonded it but either way, what if researchers find that most micro blogs are used mainly for seemingly trivial content? The personal and sometimes trivial nature is just part of what makes social media “social”, in contrast to traditional media.
In Wikipedia the term “social” is described like this. “The adjective “social” implies that the verb or noun to which it is applied is somehow more communicative, cooperative, and moderated by contact with human beings, than if it were omitted.” That means that micro blogs have a social dimension to them that make them more humane, more personal and more private than other forms of media. And that is part of what makes social media so interesting in my view. Yet another form of traditional media would not have caused this online revolution that we currently are witnessing.
And in spite of all this nonsense, micro blogs still have an impact on many aspects of business and our private lives. There are plenty of examples of people that find breaking news stories on Twitter first, and then on traditional news sites. To take another example, Twitter has a Page Rank of 9, which makes it very influential. Information that is published on Twitter is placed high in a Google search for example. So when research from Pennsylvania State University suggest that 20% of all tweets are brand related, you can imagine the impact it has on a brand’s online reputation.
A large portion of the updates on micro blogs is probably quite trivial, but with about 21,000 tweets per minute, there is still enough important content to have a serious impact on the online community.