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50% of Tweets Consumed Come From .05% of Users

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the hogging-the-conversation dept.

Businesses 141

ajensen201102 writes "A mere 20,000 Twitter users steal almost half of the spotlight on Twitter, which now ropes in a billion tweets every week. That means only 0.05% of the social network's user base attracts attention, according to a new Yahoo Research study. From the article: 'Like findings in previous studies, the researchers for this one conclude Twitter resembles an information-sharing hub rather than a social network, with the top generators garnering huge follower tallies but not following their content consumers in return.'"

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Which is what it's good for. (2)

kieran (20691) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676012)

Twitter is such a shit social tool I actually started unfollowing all my friends; it's still great for following news feeds, though.

Re:Which is what it's good for. (0, Troll)

r.stallman (2030484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676050)

Bing News recently added a real-time twitter update. It's a great way to get the best of both worlds on one conveninent page.

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676094)

Best of what worlds? A service I don't use and another I have a better one for?

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1)

Scott Scott (1531645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676136)

Good sir, are you implying that one or more people actually uses Bing rather than going straight to the middleman?

Re:Which is what it's good for. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676228)

New Media Strategies.

They're desperate. Someone needs to setup a website and list all their profiles and make it difficult for them to get new jobs.

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1)

elewton (1743958) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676290)

Odd.
They're not usually self-aware enough to call themselves something like "r. stallman".

Incompetent shill is troll shill?

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676410)

Don't you see? RMS was right! The FSF has been replaced by replicants!

Re:Which is what it's good for. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676708)

I was waiting for the day you'd tell me Microsoft is okay, Richard. I'm going to install Windows now that I know. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677122)

Bing News recently added a real-time twitter update. It's a great way to get the best of both worlds on one conveninent page.

You mean Bing, the search engine whose ads brag that using it doesn't give you all the information you could otherwise get?

Re:Which is what it's good for. (4, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676204)

I've tried to see the point in Twitter, but apart from making it easier to have group conversations by SMS I really can't work out what it is supposed to achieve. Most 'good' sources on Twitter are effectively informative, and could provide the content more effectively using RSS, email etc.

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676412)

But you cant reply to an RSS-feed and e-mail isn't public. That's the combo where Twitter fits in. It clearly has its uses, altough it might not exactly be what the creators had anticipated.

Twitter good for conversation? (2)

Mandrel (765308) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676582)

That's one thing I can't understand about Twitter — how can you have a conversation with arbitrary people, and have others view that conversation, if only Tweets inside follow-cliques appear on a person's timeline? Do conversations instead happen on hashtag streams, or Is it expected that one should monitor the "mention" tab so you can talk with people you don't follow (even though people watching your timeline will only see your side of the conversation).

When it was getting of the ground, Twitter made a big deal about how it was unlike email because it allowed people to receive messages without an expectation of having to reply. They've quietened-down about this, possibly because the concept of speaking without listening is a rather elitist one (which is why the elite love it).

But I can see how Twitter crushed RSS. It's much easier to create a personal feed via Twitter that RSS, just like pre-fab blogs killed off personal Geocities-type websites.

Re:Twitter good for conversation? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35679188)

Is it expected that one should monitor the "mention" tab so you can talk with people you don't follow (even though people watching your timeline will only see your side of the conversation).

Almost all Twitter clients notify you in some way that you've been "mentioned" (that is, your @username is in a message someone posted). You don't really watch someone's timeline. You follow them and watch their stream of broadcasted messages, which does not include messages beginning with "@[someone who isn't you]".

If you include "@kstrauser", in a message, I'll see it. If your message starts like "@kstrauser Hi from Slashdot!", none of your followers will see it unless they also follow me or unless they're directly browsing your timeline (which isn't the common way of using Twitter).

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1, Redundant)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35679134)

I've tried to see the point in Twitter, but apart from making it easier to have group conversations by SMS I really can't work out what it is supposed to achieve.

To illustrate: I went to a convention a couple of weeks ago and started following quite a few interesting people. They didn't have to do anything to push their comments to me, so it that sense it's like they all run their own mailing lists or RSS feeds. Some of their comments led to conversations, and at that point the analogy stops.

The only other people who see those conversations are Twitter users who follow both that person and me. That is, the people who follow me for other reasons aren't dragged into chats I'm having with someone I met at a technical conference. The people who follow the person I'm chatting with don't have to listen to their friend discussing geek stuff with someone they don't know. However, people who follow both of us do get to listen in. This is handy because if they like both of us, chances are good they'll be interested in what we're talking about (and can jump into the conversation at any time).

The exception to the "not having to listen to irrelevant conversation" rule is when someone I'm following "re-tweets" another user, so that I see a message from someone I don't know but which one of my friends thought was worthwhile to pass along. If I like what they've said, with a click or two I can start following that new person.

It has the interactivity of mailing lists without the distractions of listening to a bunch of side chatter. It has the convenience of a centralized repository of millions of RSS feeds you can follow or unfollow with a single click or tap but without the inherent one-directional "broadcasting" feel. Add into that a common interface that's optimized for the task of handling all the incoming messages and managing relationships.

Twitter is - to me - one of those things that looks bad on paper, as though it couldn't possibly work. In practice, I find it a pretty nice and convenient platform for meeting and interacting with new people.

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35679436)

I've tried to see the point in Twitter, but apart from making it easier to have group conversations by SMS I really can't work out what it is supposed to achieve.

Twitter is basically a promotional tool. If you are a celebrity, even a minor one, or have business or something else that needs to be promoted, you get a twitter account and do your promotions there. Fans and people interested in what you are doing subscribe and listen in. Lots of people have it set up as SMS so it is essentially instantaneous making it much better than RSS or email alone as it can fulfill those rolls also at the same time. There are other uses, but the main one I see is that once you want to promote yourself or your business these days, you need a twitter account and trying to get people to follow you to do so.

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677106)

I follow my friends, but I only have about five so it's not too bad.

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677548)

Twitter is such a shit social tool I actually started unfollowing all my friends; it's still great for following news feeds, though.

Don't use it as a tool to discuss all your thoughts for all the world to read. That's what a Journal is for and if you haven't figured out that rambling publicly wouldn't be any better than reliving high school then you really are a slow learner. Treat is as a tool for connecting yourself with various industries, news, ideas and more that can be a means to new interests, added skills, etc. You either learn to discern between value and gossip or you don't. Blaming a tool for your shortcomings is like blaming the mirror for what the world sees instead of what you expect them to see.

Re:Which is what it's good for. (1)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677560)

That's how I use it. I follow news sites and columnists, and I never tweet. So, these stats reflect my personal use of the service.

Re:Which is what it's good for. (3, Insightful)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35679092)

Twitter is such a shit social tool I actually started unfollowing all my friends; it's still great for following news feeds, though.

No, it's fucking not. I only use Twitter because certain Android devs think there's no other way to post news... but there's something about only reading 140 chars (or was it 150?) before having to click through to see WTF the topic of the tweet actually was that seriously pisses me off.

SMS is the root of all evil, and it's ruined a perfectly good service. A centralized alternative to RSS (which is all Twitter really is) would've been great... although tbh: Google Reader's interface kicks Twitter's ass anyway.

Why are we using this crap again?

True from my experience. (0)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676020)

The only thing I use Twitter for is for hearing about updates to Minecraft and when the occasional celebrity/corporate scandal breaks out because of a "tweet". Considering I see Twitter mentioned nearly every where I have to wonder how much they are spending to generate such a large buzz for such a prosaic service.

Twitter stopped being relevant technologically when "everyone" got smart phones which enabled them to do updates bigger than a SMS while away from their computers.

Re:True from my experience. (-1, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676174)

Twitter is a completely useless piece of shit of no service to anyone but attention whores. I subscribed to prevent someone from mucking with my name and then never touched it. What pisses me off is when I want to get regular information from a site or service and instead of offering RSS, they ONLY offer twitter. So then I have to get an RSS feed of their twitter feed when they could have just made a fucking RSS feed to begin with.

Also, we need to stop referring to all these things as "social". What is "social" about being a self-involved narcissistic attention-whore? That's sort of the OPPOSITE of "social".

Re:True from my experience. (1)

jhigh (657789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676482)

Tell that to the Iranians...

Re:True from my experience. (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677064)

Why is this modded Flamebait?

Re:True from my experience. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35678568)

Because it's just a rant by a guy who doesn't understand Twitter, assuming it's only used by vapid celebrities. He's begging to be flamed.

Just another proof of Sturgeon's Law (3, Interesting)

camcorder (759720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676030)

"90 percent of everything is crap"

Re:Just another proof of Sturgeon's Law (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676196)

I think he was being generous.

Same with Email (2)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676276)

Large amount of traffic from small amount of users, and a large majority of those are spam.

Re:Just another proof of Sturgeon's Law (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676296)

Nah, you're just not thinking recursively enough -- the 10% that isn't crap is still 90% crap.

Re:Just another proof of Sturgeon's Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676402)

So far as the internet is concerned, the 10% that isn't crap is porn and lolcats....

Re:Just another proof of Sturgeon's Law (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677544)

Actually, it seems Sturgeon was wrong. 99.95% of everything is crap.

WELL! (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676038)

A lot of people really have nothing to say!

Please see below and other things to do with pot and kettle ethnicity.

Re:WELL! (3, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676176)

A lot of people (like me) also join and then never use it because they really just don't "get" it. I can already do something similar but more fun on Facebook.

In other words... (2)

Zuriel (1760072) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676040)

I read that as "0.05% of Twitter users have something interesting to say."

Re:In other words... (3, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676104)

Actually, that should read as 0.05% of Twitter users are big celebrities.

Re:In other words... (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676550)

Add to that, there's the status symbol of the "Twitter Ratio." Pretty much it's #of followers/#people you follow.

The higher the result, the more awesomer you are.

Re:In other words... (1)

jpdigital (2029100) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676814)

I was trying to find a good way to describe this. Thanks for nailing it spot on!!

Re:In other words... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677328)

I'm not sure it's all that much of a status symbol, really. Either you're a real life somebody with a lot of followers, or you're an internet nobody with a lot of followers. Tweet a lot, be helpful and engage in discussions, and you'll gain followers, but I don't think being big on Twitter gives all that much status, even on Twitter.

But sure, the whole social networking concept does appeal to vanity to a sickening degree.

Re:In other words... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35678730)

Add to that, there's the status symbol of the "Twitter Ratio." Pretty much it's #of followers/#people you follow.

The higher the result, the more awesomer you are.

Well, then it's easy to get incredibly awesome: Don't follow anyone, but find at least one person who follows you. This gives you a twitter ratio of infinity. Try to beat that!

Re:In other words... (5, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676636)

Actually, that should read as 0.05% of Twitter users are big celebrities.

You misspelled "narcissists".

Re:In other words... (2)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677172)

Only 0.05%? Now, that would be news.

Re:In other words... (2)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35679328)

Well, celebrities, news sites, and spammers.

    My news site has a twitter feed. I could care less about it, other than a handful of people were bugging me to do it. So we put up somewhere around 20 messages a day. That probably puts me into that 0.05%, which really wouldn't be right. That's sad, when you realize that 0.05% is the fluffed up number. Round it off, and you see how much people use it. 0%.

    Once in a while I go through and delete all the damned spammers who decide to "follow" my feed. It's pretty obvious. Lots of links, mentions of acacia berries, sex sites, and gray market stock trading.

    Our readership, through the various methods, ranked from lowest to highest is.

  1. Twitter
  2. RSS
  3. Mobile devices / smart phones
  4. Daily newsletter
  5. The actual web site.

    As far as I'm concerned, Twitter was dead when it started, and still has no practical value.

   

Re:In other words... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35679534)

Your news site? Would that be Free Internet Press, followed by a whopping 109 people? No, sir, that doesn't put you anywhere near the 0.05%. Millions of people use Twitter, your site just doesn't have much presence there.

Re:In other words... (4, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676114)

In other words "99.95% of twitterers are twits."

Sounds about right.

Re:In other words... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676190)

"In other words "99.95% of twitterers are twits."

Hardly. At least half of them are twats,

Re:In other words... (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35678562)

David Cameron, is that you?

Re:In other words... (1)

Scott Scott (1531645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676122)

I don't know that I'd equate popular with interesting. I mean, I don't pay attention to what Sarah Palin says because I think she's got a really intriguing perspective.

Should we be surprised? (2)

masterpiga (1590499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676044)

Foreword: I am not taking part in any social network (well, if you exclude LinkedIn but I am a completely passive user also in that case).

From the outside, social networking is about showing off connections and getting the illusion of being in touch with people that, in the real world, wouldn't give a damn of you. All those people telling you their private business, they would never talk with you if they had to call you on the phone or send you an email.

On the other hand, they are still cool for getting in touch with old friends, even though generally these contacts stay very superficial. A global directory of people would be enough to achieve the same goal, without all the fanfare.

And as far as information is concerned, they are a convenient way of generating news streams without the hassle of putting a web page or an RSS feed, so they have allowed also people that don't have anything interesting to say to let the world know about it.

> Twitter resembles an information-sharing hub rather than a social network, with the top generators garnering huge follower tallies but not following their content consumers in return

Yeah, there you go.

Re:Should we be surprised? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676186)

I kind of miss the days of just having a website. Now it's all blogging and social networking. If you're not putting it on Facebook or Twitter, you might as well be writing it on the back of your toilet's water tank, because nobody is really going to bother going out of their way to visit a website just to read content and the majority of people don't even have a clue what RSS is.

It's unfortunate, because it used to be that you just had a website and you put stuff on it. Now you have to put out your meaningless comments on a regular basis in reverse chronological order and have a column full of links to every fucking dumbass social network you're subscribed to down the side and most of your energy is spent incesting each other's links and content and having inane back and forth.

Re:Should we be surprised? (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#35678756)

The way I look at it: If the audience you're looking for is the type who only use Twitter, you' don't have anything interesting to say. Blogs are no different from a website with doesn't go stale thanks to regularly updated content.

People share these same news links on Twitter too, but we're doing it on Slashdot where the substance or length of a post is not restricted to "#mamagrizzly angry! hate #obamacare! grrrr!".

Are people missing out due to how popular these silly "social" tools are? Yeah, but that's their fault and loss, not mine. I use a variety of tools as appropriate for my purpose: email for updating family, Facebook to stay in touch with old college friends, Buzz with my technical friends, and a blog for anything I want publicly accessible and stored long-term.

Re:Should we be surprised? (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676242)

Sure most of my Facebook friends are people I would never bother to talk to otherwise, but occasionally there is something worth "liking" or chiming in on. Also, it is great for organising stuff with everyday friends, or getting to know new people better. I prefer to go through my initial awkward/quiet phase with new people online, where I can get comfortable knowing that people actually are speaking to me because they want to, rather than just because we happen to be in the same physical location. Previously I used MSN for that, now it's generally Facebook.

People (and most importantly, women!) get to like me a lot faster when I get a chance to speak to them online rather than just in real life. I'm generally quite quiet with new people until I feel comfortable around them, and a lot of people take that to mean that I just don't want to speak to them, when in fact I'm just not sure if they actually want me speaking to them. Online, especially in non realtime chats, it's really easy to blow someone off - so if someone is speaking to you, you know they actually want to.

Re:Should we be surprised? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676622)

I would never bother to talk to otherwise, but occasionally there is something worth "liking" or chiming in on.

That sounds a bit narcissistic in relation to your group of friends. Of course many things "in relation to your friends" could be considered that, but this is very public. To me, it feels like two people standing in a grocer isle talking about a movie at the top of their lungs so everyone can hear them. Maybe a better analogy would be going to a party you were invited to and doing the same thing. The other patrons can choose to ignore it, but there's something inherent to the person doing the wall post or tweet that says to me: "They think their viewpoint is so important that everyone needs to hear it."

Re:Should we be surprised? (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677774)

^ This.
Reminds me of people with loud public phone voices and that shit-eating smirk that says, "people find me fascinating and want to hear every word I speak". God, those people get on my nerves! Unfortunately, some of them are family and friends.

Re:Should we be surprised? (2)

Dan East (318230) | more than 3 years ago | (#35678282)

I'm posting this to clear my moderation. Clicked on the drop list, and immediately your comment was modded Flamebait when I was intending on Interesting. The drop box didn't even appear, and the page scrolled up as soon as I clicked it. Slashdot's new DHTML crap really irks me.

Re:Should we be surprised? (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676262)

Foreword: I am not taking part in any social network (well, if you exclude LinkedIn but I am a completely passive user also in that case).

Yet you still feel qualified to comment?

I actually use a social network (Facebook), though generally only the bits I'm interested in (events, status updates, occasionally photos, contact details). I seem to have 280 "friends". Lots of them I ignore most of the time, but I want to passively keep in touch in case they're in London (most are, eventually).

I use it to keep in touch with people who live too far away -- just last week I arranged to meet up with some people I met at a music festival last year at a festival later this year. I found out that my friends in Japan were fine as soon as I heard of the earthquake.

I use it to arrange stuff with people who live near me. A close friend invited me (in person) to his BBQ a couple of weeks ago. "I'm thinking of having a BBQ on Sunday, can you come?" "Yes" "OK, I'll send you a Facebook invite with the details". No doubt 80% of the people invited weren't asked in person, but so what? Your [great-]grandparents would say phoning round is no good, and you should write everyone a letter.

I also use it to get "invites" to gigs/nightclubs/events I like. They conveniently appear on my smartphone's calendar; it seems the easiest way to hear about "special tomorrow: free entry to X before midnight".

Re:Should we be surprised? (1)

masterpiga (1590499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676656)

> Yet you still feel qualified to comment?

Right, do I have to kill someone before I can have an opinion about murder?

I may not be using SNs directly, but as you can imagine I am surrounded by people using and abusing them, so I have plenty of observation data.

I am not saying that SNing is bad or evil, and I am sure that there are many ways in which it can be useful. Yet it is also true that all the things that you just named (organizing a BBQ, getting in touch with far friends, getting invites to selected events) were also possible before SN existed, and they were not that more inconvenient (even though centralizing all these things in just one place makes things more compact). As I see it, the main difference is just that before SN you had to *choose* who your guests would be.

You know, it makes you feel a little special when someone invites "you" to some event, instead of being invited just because "you read my wall". No?

Re:Should we be surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676602)

From the outside, social networking is about showing off connections and getting the illusion of being in touch with people that, in the real world, wouldn't give a damn of you. All those people telling you their private business, they would never talk with you if they had to call you on the phone or send you an email.

On the other hand, they are still cool for getting in touch with old friends, even though generally these contacts stay very superficial. A global directory of people would be enough to achieve the same goal, without all the fanfare.

From the outside? How sad.

Maybe you need to brush up on your social skills and put more effort into your personal hygiene.

99% of everything is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676056)

No surprise.

Power law? (4, Insightful)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676058)

This isn't really so surprising. Just like Twitters, most of the world's men have only shagged a few women, while a few guys have done it with hundreds. A huge number of people live on a dollar a day, but some guys at the top can make over a billion a year. Most entertainers are unknown wedding singers, but a few are known by everyone on the planet.

Not saying it's right or wrong, just these kinds of distribution occur.

Re:Power law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676454)

Most of slashdot crowd haven't shagged a single one woman, you insentitive clod.

Re:Power law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35677482)

The few /.ers that have had sex (with a partner of the opposite sex) have done it with the one they are married to. (and they had to marry them to get that far...

Re:Power law? (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676514)

It's called the 80-20 rule. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle [wikipedia.org] .

Not quite the same (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676922)

While Pareto principle splits the data into 2 distinct categories, the Power law is continuous :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_law [wikipedia.org]

But they both say the same. A few individual have the most.

Only, as the power law is continuous, using it, if you tell it how many friends or followers you have on FaceBook/Twitter/Slashdot/etc. it can predict how many other users are in your situation.

Steal? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676090)

You can only steal what anyone else wants. Else it's just taking it without a challenge.

Re:Steal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676300)

Silly little opportunist, everyone craves the spotlight!

Re:Steal? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676342)

Bullshit. I don't.

The beauty of twitter (5, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676252)

The real secret of success of twitter is that it makes the other 99.5% of narcissists believe that what they write is Really Important. Remember the Twitter Revolution in the Islamic Republic of Iran? Twitter users really thought that their tweets were important, and all they had to do was wish hard enough and the theocracy would fall. Strangely enough, it didn't happen. I know, I don't get it, either. How many bloggers changed their page backgrounds to green? Still, the religious nuts didn't get the signal. If they would have all had twitter accounts, they would have seen just how much opposition there was, and surely they would have resigned - to avoid the devastating ridicule of twitter users if nothing else. Another thing: either there needs to be a universal translator or these theocrats need to have mandatory English lessons, otherwise how can they understand the depth of condemnation the world sends their way?

Re:The beauty of twitter (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676388)

All those so-called twitter- or facebook-revolutions are actually more accurately described as Al Jazeera revolutions. Not that they tried to flame them, but just that they brought real journalism to people. Or maybe they would have happened anyway, since people were fed up with oppression.

Re:The beauty of twitter (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676500)

I see your Iran and raise you Egypt, Libia and Yemen...

Re:The beauty of twitter (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35678250)

Which were felled by massive, in-person protests.

Re:The beauty of twitter (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#35678980)

You mean like in this photo? [wikipedia.org]

Just because you listen to bad news sources who focus mostly on people using their favorite buzzword, "Twitter", doesn't mean that's all that was going on. The protests were considerable, as was the brutal suppression of demonstrators, which may well have escalated to the type we're seeing in Libya these days.

I think the problem with the protests in Iran was in large part timing and an overwhelming sense of futility. If it had happened now, following successful uprisings in other Muslim nations, the size of protests and even the outcome may have been far more substantial. I believe it'll happen soon enough. If anyone in the middle-east can overthrow a dictatorship, it's the young, progressive and educated Iranian population.

Not even 15 minutes of fame... (4, Insightful)

MadeInUSA (2028028) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676310)

Twitter was originally conceived as a way for everyone to voice their thoughts and provide visibility to others into their lives. After this, my only conclusion is that NO, technology by itself won't make everybody famous and followed. Things happen in the twitterverse just as they happen in the real world, that is, most people disappear in their irrelevance while a few get followed and admired by everybody. Sad but true, you're lucky if you even get your 15 minutes of fame...

Re:Not even 15 minutes of fame... (1)

umghhh (965931) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676872)

So when only few but possibly really interested people are following your posts compared with thousands not really interested but still following some small starlet that is sad - why? One more thing as a side note really: there are of course quite some that are obsessed with starlet sex life too but I guarantee you that you do not want to be followed by those. So here we are - comparing mob against few friends.

Re:Not even 15 minutes of fame... (1)

MadeInUSA (2028028) | more than 3 years ago | (#35679378)

So when only few but possibly really interested people are following your posts compared with thousands not really interested but still following some small starlet that is sad - why? One more thing as a side note really: there are of course quite some that are obsessed with starlet sex life too but I guarantee you that you do not want to be followed by those. So here we are - comparing mob against few friends.

Yeah, this is a good point. It always seemed to me that twitter got popular becuase people wanted to be startlets and be followed by the mob. Not that everybody who uses twitter wants that, but I think the possibility of being a star appeals to lots of people. I think there are other services that are probably better if all you want is to be followed by close friends.

Missing proper filtering mechanisms (2)

bebraw (1783112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676316)

I've been using Twitter for around half a year now. In some ways it's highly useful. I use it mainly to share links and some casual observations. There are times when I participate in brief discussions as well.

There's one thing the whole concept fails at, though: following. The system is just too general by default. There is no simple way for me to cherry pick topics I'm interested in. I know there are hashtags but they don't quite fit the bill. I would like to be able to combine these concepts somehow (follow this person's tweets tagged this and that).

Perhaps it would make sense to provide specific pipes (ie. sports, art, programming, ...) that can be used to transmit specific type of information and in which other people can subscribe to. I believe this would provide a nice compromise, at least for me.

It's possible I have been missing something obvious all this time. Just thought to elaborate on my issues with Twitter. :)

Well, of course (2)

samael (12612) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676326)

The definition of celebrity is "Someone who is known by more people than they know" - of course Charlie Sheen is followed by more people than he follows. He also appears in more celebrity magazines than his followers.

Next you'll be surprised that there are more people reading Linus Torvald's blog than he reads in return.

I use Twitter to keep in contact with a few people I know in person (20-30), and to keep up with a few people who say things I'm interested (about the same again). Same as with Livejournal/Blogs.

No, the average person isn't interested in whether I went to the cinema and enjoyed Rango - but (some of) my friends are. So I wouldn't expect to get followed by 10,000 people - just by my friends.

Re:Well, of course (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676502)

The definition of celebrity is "Someone who is known by more people than they know" - of course Charlie Sheen is followed by more people than he follows.

Hmm, that actually points out a numerical use for this. I've long felt that the Internet was a great equalizing force on the social landscape. No longer do TV and movie studios have a monopoly on world-wide fame and celebrity. With the Internet, anyone who comes up with something interesting or catchy enough can become famous worldwide.

The problem was, I always thought that was a nigh unprovable hypothesis. How do you measure "celebrity" in an objective, numerical manner? Number of twitter followers actually might work. If the hypothesis is right, that 0.05% should increase as the years go by, indicating fame is becoming a more evenly distributed commodity.

Re:Well, of course (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676664)

The definition of celebrity is "Someone who is known by more people than they know"

Hrm. I have REALLY bad memory for names and faces - does that count?

Re:Well, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35677554)

No, the average person isn't interested in whether I went to the cinema and enjoyed Rango - but (some of) my friends are

Your friends are morons.

Re:Well, of course (1)

samael (12612) | more than 3 years ago | (#35678662)

If your friends don't care about what you've been up to, and what activities you enjoyed or didn't, then I wouldn't want to switch social lives with you.

And the system will be gamed to death (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676328)

Since very few people originate most tweets with high following, corporations and advertisers would woo them. They will set up their paid tweeters backed up by huge number of paid assistants. The followers will realize the conflict of interest and calibrate their truthiness of tweeters. Eventually it will reduce to a second rung of media, like bloggers, less scrutinized, highly fragmented.

black holes; no-fly zones, former planets -peace (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676360)

disarm.

Consumed? (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676426)

Are you sure you know the english language?

Can you eat Tweets? I doubt it...

Not really astonishing... (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676428)

It just shows that Twitter follows Zipf's Law (or at least Pareto's Law). As more and more people join Twitter, the balance gets shifted more and more to the top few.

Twitter..gossip for the technology age (2)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676432)

Twitter, to me, is just the combination of one fairly new concept - cell phone texting - and one old and antiquated concept - the POTS "party line". Consequently it takes interpersonal gossip and makes it broadcast gossip..

The only thing I want to read in 140 words or less is the weather.

Re:Twitter..gossip for the technology age (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676748)

I dont want to even read weather from twitter size message, I just want to see simple graphic what tells faster and easier way the weather.

Twitter is no good for anything else than sharing a shorted URL's and those goes much easier even with emails what does not force to have anykind twitter account by anyone.

Re:Twitter..gossip for the technology age (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676820)

Twitter gets me in touch with other developers, and I learn about new software through mentions and retweets. Twitter is just another tool, but I've found it more useful than Facebook and such.

Re:Twitter..gossip for the technology age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35677730)

Danger: A severe weather alert has been issued. Severe weather will produce large hail and high winds. A tornado has been sighted in the ar

100% of the decisions being made by .0001% pop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35676468)

georgia stone holycost 'math'. talk about getting buggered again, in the name of god, again?

Re:100% of the decisions being made by .0001% pop. (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676798)

In the name of God would at least be understandable, sadly it's more like in the name of celebrity worship.

Twitter not finished being developed yet (1)

sarbonn (1796548) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676666)

I've been using Twitter for a while now, and it's very frustrating to try to use it for what for which it claims to be its purpose. As the article points out, mostly everyone seems to follow a very small number of people who seem to generate most of the comments. The rest of us, trying to use it as an actual social vehicle, find it fails in that because for what it's worth, no one wants to communicate back if they ever achieve a social level of achievement with Twitter. It's like being part of a social club that has barriers on the doors, but everyone wants to get in, even though there's really nothing going on in the back room. As a mid-level writer (meaning my following is dismal at best), Twitter mainly serves as a device for me to receive information rather tahn to project it. When I project, it's really not much of a sensation (aside from a few of my stuffed animals who follow me religiously). So, it leaves me following trends, rather than actually being able to participate in them. What I do find fascinating about Twitter, however, is the tendency to see people who are celebrities attempt to defend their celebrity by trying to play their part, even though their capabilities are completely lacking. A good example is Mindy Kaling (the woman who plays the Indian girl on The Office). Her tweets are kind of sad, because she's very much an example of someone who wants to be seen as cool and funny, but all she really has to her name is the credit she made from The Office. Now, I understand she's a very talented writer and actress, but her tweets don't reveal that. She comes off as trying way too hard, and for someone who is one of those listeners (rather than someone followed), I find it to be hilarious because it shows the social phenomenon for what it really is. What it really seems to be is that Twitter hasn't found its true groove yet. It feels like it's on the edge of finding it, however, and I suspect that it's going to evolve into something much more interactive (where you do communicate with celebrity), or it is going to be the jumping off point for the next technology that actually does it, possibly emerging with a technology that allows for people to become celebrities, rather than as a vehicle to communicate with, or receive communication from.

oh look, follow the leader (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676784)

Who would've thought that the public at large would find yet another tool to deify and revere the drug taking *'upper class'. Most people simply cannot be without leader figures it seems. Twitter's a giant pile of shit that the media seem to have glommed onto in some desperate attempt to remain current and hip, and they routinely talk about it and the internet in general in a most basic way. Understanding just how the internet works, and the sort of technology that goes into it should be a requirement before you can use it to be honest. I mean you wouldn't drive a car without knowing how to change the oil right? ... oh, wait.

*They are in fact, not the 'upper class', but simply reflections of the worshippers themselves who got lucky on some stupid reality show about eating someone elses shit.

I suppose no thread about twitter and social networking in general would be complete without a reference to Idiocracy. [imdb.com] ... and they thought we'd all sucumb to some brilliant and devilish dictatorship, if only!

News at 11!! (1)

pasv (755179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676808)

People have nothing to say and no one cares anyway! At least we can back this up with research. Wonderful.

Consumed? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35676824)

I was wondewing why I haven't been getting my tweets! They been consumed by a tiny puhcentage of da usahs.

Sewiouswy... "consume"?

0.2% of users consume 50% of utilized capacity??!! (1)

bittmann (118697) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677062)

Wait until AT&T hears about this!

No (bird) dog in this hunt... (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677086)

It feels kind of strange, but I've never had a Twitter account, and seem to be living okay without it. I have "consumed" postings, mostly from people who put their feed on their website or some such, but without an account of my own, it's hard to keep up with conversations or threads. From the article it sounds like I'm not really missing much. Maybe in 5 or so years I'll be fighting it out with a New Guinean tribesman as "the last man without a Twitter account".

Re:No (bird) dog in this hunt... (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 3 years ago | (#35678044)

Speaking as someone who signed up to see what the fuss was about...you're not missing much. There's no more content having an account then just going to twitter.com; it only allows you to subscribe and organize posts. tweeting feels a lot like yelling into a crowded room full of deaf people.

I don't get it, honestly.

So then.. (1)

phrackwulf (589741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677110)

It's just like a real live social network? Glad we wrapped this one up, experiment successful apparently. Besides, isn't it nice to know that the introverts need no longer be bothered by the popular extroverts taking up oxygen in the real world when they can be blathering away online or following celebrity blather? I think of it as a solution to the info sphere version of second hand smoke.

Pareto's principle (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677656)

Otherwise more commonly known as the 80-20 rule. You see it everywhere... even if not in those exact percentages.

Meh (1)

Grogan The Destroyer (1810112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35678952)

Twatter.

Duh. (1)

theghost (156240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35679062)

Anyone who hasn't figured out by now that twitter is really only good for advertising and ego-tripping attention whores probably is an ego-tripping attention whore.

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