Monday, August 17, 2009

Twitter is froth - so what?

Much excitement in the BBC news room as they announce that twitter is "40% babble". Babble being the technical term for 'tweets' that the 'researcher' didn't care for. All I can say is, so what?

So the research company has labelled 40% of what people say as "pointless babble". Alright, what percentage of what people say to each other face to face is "pointless babble"? More or less? Because if it's more (and it might be if we used the same guidelines) would that make Twitter more highbrow than everyday conversation?

Also I'm rather intrigued as to what criteria they used. At what point do we cross the line from chit chat to babble? In my case it's normally after the fifth sherry, but obviously everyone has a different tipping point.

"Almost as prevalent as the babble were "conversational" tweets that used it as a surrogate instant messaging system. The study found that only 8.7% of messages could be said to have "value" as they passed along news of interest."
So conversation is not of "value" and linking to something is automatically worthwhile? Are we sure about this?

Yet more bullshit social media bashing by people who don't understand it's just people talking to each other using a new means. That new means has its own unique contours, strengths and weaknesses. You don't have to like it and I certainly don't think we should buy the hype that the revolution will be twitterised, or that now is the age of the Twitter Tsar but we shouldn't just go along with stories who discard sites like twitter because people use them to talk to each other, which is what they were designed for.

Surely the point is that if people find it has value for them they will use it, if not they will go elsewhere. Telling people that their conversation bores you isn't research and it doesn't tell us anything of value. If you've monitored our conversations and found them inadequate it's time for you to get a new hobby, not us.


Benjamin Solah said...

Part of me thinks the problem is all of these dickheads have been looking for ways to monetize things, make a profit out of it all or for it to be some kind of journalism.

Anonymous said...

I did an english language a level and about 90%+ of what you say in a day is "blabber" anyway.

Twitter is probably producing a better ratio of quality utterances to banal noise than regular speech.

Of course the blabber is things like manners and flirting, who needs that anyway???

weggis said...

The correct term is Coprolalia.

But yes, only about 10% of communication is words, the other 90% being tone and body language.

Tone and body language are rather difficult to simulate in written text, it can be done, but few achieve it.

Jim Jay said...

BS: Spam is definately a problem - although the researchers had a different category for that. However spam's not that much of a problem because you don't have to follow spammers. You can be very selective with twitter if you choose to be.

LO: absolutely. It's bizarre that if I link to something 'worthy' that's counted as more valuable than a personal message to my friends. I think they need to explain that value judgement.

W: email and web discussion often gets out of hand for that very reasonI think. Not just because tone is difficult to judge but also some people can forget they are actually talking to other human beings and behave poorly. That's why I have a strict comments policy here, but rarely need to enforce it thankfully.