Study: Twitter At Least 40 Percent Pointless

    August 26, 2009

People who believe that Twitter’s useful and important are not going to be pleased with the results of a new study.  Pear Analytics tried to categorize 2,000 tweets, and found that 40.55 percent of them fell into the "pointless babble" bucket.

Let’s start with the setup: working from Monday to Friday during the day, Pear captured 2,000 tweets over the course of two weeks.  Next, it established the categories "news," "spam," "self-promotion," "pass-along value" (tweets including the term "RT"), "conversational" (questions, polls, and back-and-forth exchanges), "and pointless babble" (with "I am eating a sandwich now" given as an example).

According to Pear, 3.60 percent of its 2,000 tweets qualified as news.  About 5.85 were of a self-promotional nature, and about 8.70 percent were significant enough to be passed along.  Plus, 37.55 percent of the tweets were part of a conversation.

Then we arrive at the less productive stuff.  Pear found that 3.75 percent of the tweets were spam, and although that isn’t bad, a full 40.55 qualified as pointless babble.

But Twitter supporters can hinge an argument on at least one point.  Towards the end of its report, Pear Analytics chose to promote Philtro, a sort of Twitter filter that it’s testing.  So you might not be out of line to raise questions about ulterior motives.