Stop the presses! 40% of tweets are 'pointless babble'

Study breaks down Twitter posts into categories; 'pointless babble' wins the day

Breaking news! A study out this week shows that a large chunk of Twitter posts are, well, useless.

Who would have guessed it? The most surprising part of the study by Pear Analytics shows that 40.55% of tweets are "pointless babble." At least it's not a higher percentage.

Microblogging site Twitter has skyrocketed in popularity, with users increasing their time on the site by 3,712% between this summer and last. That bump makes Twitter the fifth-most popular social networking site, according to the Nielsen Co.

It also gained much-needed credibility when astronauts used it to communicate from space, tweets came from the White House and Twitter was used as a sort of lifeline for the people of Iran during the recent government crackdown over disputed elections. But Twitter is still dogged by the reputation that many people simply use the site to blather on about a bad cup of coffee, a good hair day or the annoyance of a parking space too far from the mall.

Ryan Kelly, founder and CEO of Pear Analytics, decided to see what percentage of tweets are somewhat meaningful.

"A while back, we embarked on a study that evolved after having a debate in the office as to how people are using and consuming Twitter," Kelly wrote in a blog post. "Some felt it was their source of news and articles, others felt it was just a bunch of self-promotion with very few folks actually paying attention. But mostly, many people still perceive Twitter as just mindless babble of people telling you what they are doing minute-by-minute; as if you care they are eating a sandwich at the moment."

Kelly said they looked at a sample of 2,000 tweets - in English and from the U.S. - that were posted between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET over a two-week period. They categorized all the captured tweets into six categories: news, spam, self-promotion, pointless babble, conversational and pass-along value.

As many might have guessed, pointless babble (as in... 'I just spilled my coffee' or 'My kid is soooo cute') was the biggest category with a whopping 40.55%. But conversational was a close second with 37.55%. Pass-along value was a distant third with 8.7%.

"With the new face of Twitter, it will be interesting to see if they take a heavier role in news, or continue to be a source for people to share their current activities that have little to do with everyone else," noted Kelly.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags twittersocial networking

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?