Twitter getting into the (#spymaster free) groove
Another piece of research out today that confirms my view that Twitter’s future will be a more compact one and that while its growth spurt may continue, it will not be sustained and in the not too distant future it will settle down to what its eventually going to be.
The latest research from Harvard Business has a lot of interesting stats in it. Top of that list is the one about who does the Twittering. The report says that there is a small contingent of users who are very active and specifically the top 10% of Twitter users account for over 90% of all tweets. That is a huge and disproportionate statistic in comparison to any other social network out there.
The report goes on to say that on a typical social network, the top 10% of users usually account for 30% of all activity. Even on Wikipedia, the figure is 15% of the most prolific users accounting for 90% of Wikipedia’s activity.
“In other words, the pattern of contributions on Twitter is more concentrated among the few top users than is the case on Wikipedia, even though Wikipedia is clearly not a communications tool. This implies that Twitter’s resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network,” Harvard Business says.
The Harvard study comes on the same day that Nielsen put out some numbers on general social networking growth. They revealed nothing terribly exciting, but what the stats came with was a timely reminder from Jon Gibs at Nielsen Online who asked: “Remember Friendster? Remember when MySpace was an unbeatable force?”
Sure we all do, but what has happened since then is this: fantastic growth as users flock to these sites and then try them out, but then they abandon them. Its like dating.
Much of this trying results in many Twitter users signing up and never tweeting and in fact abandoning their accounts after one month. I’ve had friends sign up, give it a go and not really find that it fits in with what they do day to day. Their community is simply not involved.
In essence this is what has happened to MySpace. We all flocked to it. We tried. We experimented and some of us moved on. I closed my account the other week as I hadn’t used it for 18 months. Frankly truth is I’m way past it, when it comes to MySpace. Oh yeah that and they were always spamming me.
But while the Nielsen research showed that MySpace fell 31% in the last year, it also showed that when it comes to streamed video it rules the roost. That’s what it does best.
It’s the settling effect that comes after all the hype as MySpace has slipped into its natural groove. The same will be true of others in the social networking space.
Twitter’s raison detre, its natural groove, (for me at least) is as a work oriented social networking site and search service rather than video (MySpace) or a service that allows you to keep up with your friends (Facebook) and that is what it will settle into after the headlines have faded.
At the moment, as services go, it is too useful to leave. I only wish that people would use it for work and save the rest for elsewhere. And yes, I am thinking about #spymaster here (one question: why?), which I am not going to go into, but if you use Twitter you probably already know all about it. Besides others have written about in more detail than I will ever care to do so – Paul Carr’s latest Guardian piece ’10 Commandments for my Twitter followers’ covers it off nicely.