Twits, Tweets, and Fail Whales
Hey everybody, don’t forget to put your entries in for the inaugural ABDPBT Sucky Sweepstakes. Yeah, that’s right, I’m telling you that you have more time, you know why? Because I live on the West Coast, and it’s only 7:25 am here! So you have another two to two and a half hours. Good luck!
There’s an article about Twitter in Business Week this morning. In a nutshell, it argues that Twitter’s financial prowess is more limited than people had hoped, basically because all the “connections” you make with people on it are not equal. Therefore, it’s efficacy as a marketing tool is questionable. From the article:
But [Metcalfe’s Law] doesn’t apply to Twitter. The explanation why comes from two fellows named Zipf and Dunbar. Back in 1935, linguist George Zipf noticed that words in the English language are used in an interesting pattern. “The” is spoken most commonly, making up 7% of all utterances; “of” is the second-most common word, used exactly one-half as often as “the”…and the pattern continues with the 100th word in popularity being used only 1/100th as often. Zipf’s Law suggests that each subsequent thing in any series (such as your Twitter contacts) has predictable diminishing value. Your spouse is more important than your best friend, who outranks your boss, colleague, and that guy you met on a plane from Chicago. Inside the 2.3 million-strong Twitter network, not all connections are equal, and some will never be used at all. You will probably never send tweets to ice skaters in Finland.
Point taken. However, a larger problem with the hopes for meteoric advertising success of Twitter, IMO, is the dipwads who use it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I use it–but I started doing so because it apparently is a networking tool for bloggers that is key to spreading your popularity. (BTW I have not really gotten any more users via Twitter that I know of, but I’m still waiting). After I started using it, I noted that it’s great for one liners that come up during the day–things that aren’t really worthy of a whole blog post, but are funny anyway and you want to keep a record of them.
So, yeah, I have a “tweets” section on my blog, but I’m pretty skeptical of the service in general. Why? Not because I think all connections aren’t equal–of course they’re not, duh–it’s because MOST PEOPLE HAVE NOTHING INTERESTING TO SAY. And I’m not going to listen to somebody who has nothing interesting to say, whether they are talking about lipgloss or their husband’s unemployment.