Most of my clients and colleagues acknowledge the expanding value of social media. But they still don’t know what to make of Twitter.
Blogs, online communities and forums are relatively easy for them to comprehend as strategic communications tools. But the incessantly babbling Twitter, with its Gnostic lingo of hashtags and retweeting and @replies, is not.
So what are we to make of the fact that Twitter has reached 10 billion tweets? Maybe a lot. But maybe a lot of nothing.
Consider this unscientific illustration of Twitter’s contribution to productivity. If each Tweet took on average only ten seconds to be posted and read, then Twitter would already account for almost 28 million manhours. That’s an average year’s work for 15,414 Americans.
What value has come of all this effort is debatable, especially when you consider that 40 percent of Twitter posts are what one study called “pointless babble.” Probably just as many posts are babble that makes a point.
Twitter also suffers from a growing spam and phishing infestation. A study by online security firm Barracuda Networks estimates that only 21 percent of Twitter users are genuine.
Nobody denies Twitter’s ability to spread the word. But for many otherwise Internet-savvy communications executives, it’s still far from clear how to most effectively anticipate, respond to and leverage a free online messaging service that by design is a magnet for the world’s clutter.
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(Above) Social media consultant Muhammad Saleem created this excellent graphic illustrating Twitter’s path to 10 billion tweets and what’s been shown true along the way.