Don’t Knock It Until You Try It

September 8, 2009 by  
Filed under social media

sandwich photoI’m beginning to think Twitter is something you either love, hate or just plain don’t understand. I often find myself trying to dispel the myth that it’s simply people writing about what they ate for lunch, what kind of creamer they’re using in their third cup of coffee or that they’re on their way to the kids’ soccer game. Well, yes, if that’s all Twitter was, I wouldn’t want to be part of it either.

“Twitter haters see no point in tweeting” was the headline for an Aug. 25 article in USA Today. Interestingly, the first comment in the story is from a man who has never used Twitter, but says it bugs him. Another woman quoted in the story has no interest in tweets that “share the most mundane details of life.”

Texas-based Pear Analytics, which does data analysis for marketing, studied 2,000 tweets from the public Twitter timeline over a two-week period from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central time). The tweets went into six categories: news, spam, self-promotion, pointless babble, conversational and pass-along value.

Even though pointless babble was 40.55%, conversational tweets accounted for 37.55%. Coming in third was pass-along value at a lower 8.7%. You can read more about the study and get the firm’s white paper on its blog.

I spend a great deal of time on Twitter each day, checking out things for clients or just monitoring my own Twitter account. Yes, Twitter has its share of “turkey and cheese on rye” kind of tweets. But I gloss over those and direct my attention to people I know have something entertaining, informative or useful to share. I’ve come across plenty of good Web sites, tidbits and articles I wouldn’t have seen without Twitter. I’ve checked out products, companies, shopping deals and parenting tips all thanks to Twitter.

It’s a matter of filter. Look at who you follow. If the person is tweeting about lunch and other mundane details, it’s quite simple: don’t follow that person. And you can always unfollow someone who seemed interesting at first and later takes a nosedive into mundane.

Also, choose to follow like-minded people. If you have no interest in sports, don’t follow people who are talking about sports – to you, that’s “pointless babble.” If you don’t have children, don’t follow people who tweet about their kids or give parenting advice – to you, that’s “pointless babble.”

If you find tweeters who share your interests, opinions and hobbies, chances are you’ll find more conversations and pass-along value and less pointless babble.

OK, gotta run. I’m having ham and cheddar on wheat.

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