Twittering technobabble

The estimable Stephen Fry has entered the emerging fracas over the claim made by Pear Analytics that 40 per cent of tweets are ‘babble’.

Meanwhile, Pear’s analysis involved the random sampling of Twitter’s public timeline from Monday through to Friday, every 30 minutes from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm for two weeks. The trouble is, the idea that a tweet is or is not ‘babble’ is highly subjective depending on who’s considering the content of a tweet.

Allowing for the fatal flaw in the methodology, it’s worth noting that Pears considered more than 50 per cent of tweets to be newsworthy, conversational or worth ‘passing along’. (Mr Fry’s opinion can be found at his blog.)

That sounds like normal everyday human experience to me.

In fact, the most interesting insight was not generated by Pears at all, but was a reference to David McCandless’s data visualisation If the Twitter community were 100 people’. Among the nuggets of insight contained in his fabulous visual is the revelation that 5 per cent of Twitter users account for 75 per cent of the total volume of tweets, and that 5 per cent have more than 100 followers.

But if the content of your tweet is to gain traction across Twitter, is it better to be retweeted by a ‘loud mouth’ or befriended by someone with 100+ followers?

Answers on a postcard please…

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