Today I read a very interesting report on Twitter use from Hubspot. Its their 2nd ‘State of the Twittersphere’ report.
There’s a lot of other great info in the report that you can download by clicking here (by the way big ups to Chris Brogan for bringing this to my attention).
After reading the report I was a bit surprised to say the least. Especially when it seems like Twitter is mentioned incessantly on cable news, TV, and most recently as a catalyst for things that are happening right now in Tehran. Its everywhere. So why the huge amount of inactivity?
This data was gathered from 4.5 million users and there are some really surprising stats:
79.79% failed to provide a homepage URL
• 75.86% of users have not entered a bio in their profile
• 68.68% have not specified a location
• 55.50% are not following anyone
• 54.88% have never tweeted
• 52.71% have no followers
In an effort to quantify exactly how many dormant accounts exist, we labeled users as inactive if they satisfy all of the following conditions:
• Fewer than 10 followers
• Fewer than 10 friends
• Fewer than 10 updates
By this definition, 9.06% of all Twitter users are inactive.
First, I can’t tell you how many times in the past few months I’ve been at a party, family function, etc. when someone comes up and says “So, what exactly IS Twitter?” Guh. It’s not that I don’t want to help… Its just that Twitter isn’t any ONE THING. What it is depends on what you want it to be… Want to find cool links? Want to take customer service to the next level? Want to get loads of information on a particular industry or just find out if your customers are talking about your brand online? Yeah, you can do that. I really don’t think the ‘What Are You Doing’ description holds water anymore and for many people that are just getting started, that’s what they think tweets are: “Taking a dump.” “Picking up the kids.” “Eating a ham sandwich.” If you’re going to tell me just what you’re doing … you’re not going to have a great expierince with this tool.
So I’m thinking that one of the biggest reasons behind the stats in the report is that people just don’t know what the hell Twitter IS, nor how to use it effectively. That goes double for brands. Maybe triple… Its the openness that may be a tough thing for lots of people. Facebook was easily definable as a tool – connect with people you know. Once you get there, you realize that there’s so much more to it, but at least there is a jump off point. Same with things like MySpace (find good music, connect with friends) and even Match.com (find a mate). I don’t think Twitter has that yet.
So I guess I’ll leave this post with a couple of links and questions… First, I wrote a post a couple months ago about how to Be Useful on Twitter. Its gotten a lot of positive feedback, so if you’re looking for a primer, maybe this can help. On the other end of the spectrum, check out “How Not To Use Twitter” from Social Media Today (big ups to @theyinspire for passing the link along to me).
But what about you? How to YOU use Twitter, and how would you describe it? Or don’t you?