This report on Twitter usage and how usage relates to other online activities made perfect sense to me although I was surprised that it suggested that the majority of users were between 18 and 34. I'd recently heard that Twitter use was most popular among thirtysomethings. The article did note that 31 was the median age. One point that the article mentions which I believe needs further illumination is this: "Twitter's open development platform allows outside developers to build add-on applications to expand the service's functionality". The article falls short of saying, but I will say it here, that this is why Twitter has seen such accelerated growth. I do not think it would be so popular without all of the Twitter tools that have popped up. The other salient point mentioned is the Twitter is more than just answering the question "What are you doing?". One noted use - "the airing of complaints against companies" - is and will continue to have serious implications for companies. This is the Web 2.0 version of the Better Business Bureau and you can bet that peer credibility for poor service, products, etc.. will be valued on Twitter maybe even more than the BBB, especially among younger generations. While you can argue that some of the demographics in the study might not be wholly representative of the greater population of Twitter users, I think some of the conclusions made are worth mentioning:
- Wireless internet users are more likely to be users of Twitter than connected internet users.
- Social network users are more likely to be users of Twitter than those who don't.
- Bloggers are more likely to be Twitter users than non-Bloggers. Twitter users also consume more blog content and maintain their own blogs more frequently than non-Twitter users.
- Twitter users are more likely to use cell phones to connect to the Internet than non-Twitter users.
- Twitter users are more likely to consume print & video news stories on cell phones and smart phones than non-Twitter users (probably because Tweets are pointing them to these news links).
This article talks about the whole concept of "unfriending" someone. They mention the "Whopper Sacrifice" (for those of you who have not heard about this, Burger King was offering a free Whopper to anyone who dropped 10 friends). This seems pretty anti-social to me! Apparently, Burger King thinks too many people have superficial digital friends and they wanted to discourage this practice. Hmmm - I might have to eat at Wendy's from now on! The article goes on to say that not all unfriendings are equal and that many people are simply trying to create a more manageable list removing "that grad student you met a party two years ago ... or that kid from middle school you barely remember." Really? Maybe because I'm still in a "gathering mode" but I thought that was part of the fun of Facebook; reconnecting with old friends even if you don't still see or talk to them. Let's not forget the networking component also - I read recently that generation Yers will have an instant network of anyone they ever met by the time they graduate from college. Wow! Why would you want to delete people from that network? Ok, maybe, every so often, there might be someone you delete for one reason or another, but shouldn't that be very infrequently? Which brings me to the best part of the article, a suggestion by Henry Blodget, a now career blogger. Facebook should have friendship levels! Yes, great idea! Then maybe I wouldn't need a separate Facebook account for work - I'd just label them "work friends". Of course it would only work if you could set privacy levels for each friendship level, post separate status updates, etc... I know Facebook has friend lists but that's not the same as friendship levels.
This article speaks about what makes a great Facebook update. Is it an update that's a request? Is it something that's not both enigmatic and boring? Is it how many replies it gets? Is it humor? What is it? I suspect the answer is: it's different for everyone. But, I do like this description: It's the only place in your life that you can say whatever comes to mind at any point in time. Updates are "spontaneous bursts of being!"
25 Random Tips for the Busy Facebook User
This is a spoof on "25 Random Things About Me". As a joke, it's actually pretty funny. If it wasn't so true.