Twitter – More About You Than Yahoo Will Ever Be

Though the new slogan from Yahoo would seem to indicate the focus was on each user, it must take a back seat in that department compared to the likes of Twitter.

A recent study, done by Rutgers University, shows that Twitter is the most egocentric thing happening on the internet, and that when someone tweets it is all about them. Yes, Twitter is a tool for the dissemination of information, however, how useful, insightful, or beneficial that information might be is anybody’s guess.

If you happen to follow Martha Stewart, and are interested in how the upper crust lives, you’re golden, because she is more than willing to let you know – in great detail. (Yes, for a short while, I did, thinking that it would be interesting.) That is how it can be seen for many. If you are interested in the life of a celebrity, and they are willing, you can have your very own “Insider” or “Entertainment Right Now”. But if you are looking for something of usefulness, such as what your favorite physicist is thinking about, such as the things that Stephen Hawking is working on at the moment, you can forget it.

from PCWorld

A vast majority of Twitter users are mainly interested in . . . well, themselves.

A Rutgers University study released last week shows that 80% of Twitterers are largely tweeting about themselves — what they’re doing, their feelings, their opinions and other personal information.

twitterOnly 20% of the 350 Twitter users surveyed are sharing non-personal information and they tend to have larger social networks and interact more with their followers.

“While ‘meformers’ typically post messages relating to themselves or their thoughts, informers post messages that are informational in nature,” wrote Rutgers researchers Mor Naaman and Jeffrey Boase in the study. They also said that while the majority of Twitterers may seem narcissistic, it’s their attempt to maintain relationships by apprising people of their status.

“Although the meformers’ self-focus might be characterized by some as self-indulgent, these messages may play an important role in helping users maintain relationships with strong and weak ties,” Naaman and Boase wrote.

The seriousness of the millions of tweets floating around out there has also taken another recent hit.

In August, Pear Analytics LLC reported that 40.55% of tweets are “pointless babble.” Of the 2,000 tweets that researchers looked at, Pointless Babble (as in “I just spilled my coffee” or “My kid is soooo cute”) was the biggest category.

The two studies about the frivolousness of so many tweets have come out just as Twitter has gained much-needed credibility in recent months. Astronauts used Twitter to communicate from space, tweets have been issued from the White House, and Twitter turned into something of a lifeline for the people of Iran during the recent government crackdown over disputed elections there.

Twitter, though, 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 having to park too far from the mall entrance.

Despite this, the microblogging site has been skyrocketing in popularity this year. Though it’s only the fifth most popular social networking site, use of Twitter increased by 3,712% year-over-year this past April to nearly 300 million minutes.

The above article, and a few others I have read, tend to show that Twitter tends to be less than ideal for a true exchange of information. Mostly because of the fact that, at critical times, there really is no exchange,, just flow from one side.

In my opinion, this could be because of a lacking in Twitter clients, though my opinion is only informed by a small selection of trials. Perhaps there is a really great client, but I have not seen any sort of building wave, such as the one that came with the first beta releases of Firefox. From all that I have seen, many of the clients are having problems keeping up with the numbering of tweets, and many have been broken several times, when certain milestones were reached. I happen to think that lack of a truly great client, or perhaps focussing feature, is what is keeping Twitter in the realm of novelties, and not necessities.

So, though Yahoo may have that Microsoft money lighting up your television screen, giving you the idea that it should be the center of your universe, it can’t really say it is all about you. Not by a level of magnitude.

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In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.

Yakov Smirnoff

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