So you think you know all there is to know about Twitter, do you?
We’re all aware of social media and perhaps like to think we’re up to speed with micro-blogging too, but how’s about this for a statistic: 1 billion tweets are sent on average every day, but of those 50% percent are sent by just 0.05% of tweeters. In other words half of each day’s tweets are sent by just 20,000 people. So who are these serial tweeters and what have they got to say that demands so much attention?
Research carried out by Yahoo into the social networking site discovered that there was an elite group, or Twitterati if you’d prefer, who are responsible for half the daily tweets on the site and attract the attention of the rest of us. Researchers analysed 260 million tweets with URLs and found that almost half of these were created by either celebrities, the media, organisations or bloggers. The rest of the tweets were created by the likes of you or me – the ordinary boys and girls.
The most interesting fact that the report highlighted was the patterns of behaviour individual tweeters exhibited.
As members of Joe Public, you and I are happy to follow the fortunes and tribulations of celebrities and devour the blogs of our favourite writers. The Twitterati, however, aren’t quite so ‘catholic’ in their tastes: celebrities like to follow other celebrities, for reasons best known to themselves, bloggers will keep their eyes on other bloggers, and organisations and the media both keep tabs on what the competition’s up to.
The purpose of the study was to try to throw some new light on communication, and how it was affected and influenced by social media.
What it told us in the end is actually quite difficult to judge objectively. The only conclusion that can really be drawn from it is that maybe Twitter isn’t quite as open and egalitarian as we might’ve believed it to be. The media pumps out the most information and this is avidly consumed by other media players, but the celebrity is the most followed. Twitter appears to be becoming less of a social network and more of an information exchange hub. So, if you’ve got aspirations to become the next Charlie Sheen and get a following of a million or more, the moral would appear to be, don’t bother. To get that level of followers you need to be a celebrity, and if you’re not already one of those, then the chances are you never will be.