Tuesday, August 18, 2009

“Pointless Babble” is the Stuff Relationship are Made Of

Recently, Pear Analytics, which is based in San Antonio, conducted a study of Twitter usage. Their goal was to how people are using and consuming Twitter. They reviewed 2,000 tweets from the public timeline during a two-week period and categorized them as: news, spam, self-promotion, pointless babble, conversational or pass-along value. The study focused on English-language tweets in the United States.

Their stated results were: “Pointless Babble won with 40.55% of the total tweets captured; however, Conversational was a very close second at 37.55%, and Pass-Along Value was third (albeit a distant third) at 8.7% of the tweets captured.”

There’s more info like, when during the week is best for which type of tweet, for example, when are your tweets most likely to be shared. It’s definitely worth a look.

What strikes me though is the category title of “pointless babble.” I’ve heard many people say they don’t want to know what someone had for lunch. (Despite the fact that Twitter asks, “What are you doing?” and sometimes, you really are eating lunch.)

The assumption is that any tweet that does not provide for deep conversation or breaking news is noise. And it may be to some extent when you’re looking at the public timeline. But among your connections, this kind of “babble” is far from pointless. Relationships are built around the mundane stuff of daily life.

How many marriages have you seen where the only talk is of the deep philosophical variety? None that I know of. And coworkers get to know each other by talking about traffic and weather and television shows, not strategy and core competencies.

So while the other facets of Twitter are powerful, don’t brush off the babble.