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Twitter: Pointless babble?

1 Oct, 2009 McKell Naegle

This summer, Pear Analytics released an interesting study.

MarketingProfs.com wrote on it as well.

According to the research, 40.5 percent of the messages published on social-media-darling Twitter are “pointless babble,” and a mere 8.7 percent of tweets have pass-along value to others.

The piece won itself a lot of buzz from both sides of the proverbial fence. Anti-Twitterers were all, “AHA! I knew this was just a passing fad!” Pro-Twitterers ranged from defensive to hurt, arguing that Pear’s characterization of “pointless babble” was subjective and narrow.

But before you wipe Twitter off the whiteboard, consider this: Said “pointless babble” is exactly what makes Twitter such a rich resource for brands seeking to discover what users really think about them. Without the pressure of being profound, and with the brevity and speed afforded by updating your status instantly, users say exactly what’s on their minds, for the most-part unedited, and often revealing.

For example, a casual Twitter search of “Inglourious Basterds” following its premier revealed that the majority of users who’d seen it wanted to see it again. Now, that’s great on-the-spot info for a movie producer!

And a search for “Skittles” reveals the candy brand’s fixed state in the pop culture: People casually proclaim their love for Skittles, upload videos involving playing with Skittles and even swap color preferences.

The message for marketers here? Don’t let naysaying stats-panderers rob you of a priceless education—found only by dipping into a trendy technology and discovering for yourself why it is (or isn’t) valuable for your company.

The Po!nt: Don’t dis the tweet just yet. Keeping an open mind (especially about social media) is a major attribute of staying ahead of the game these days.

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