Twitter's firehose problem

June 22, 2010 in Data

Esquire confirms what we already knew: Twitter is a waste of time. The information "firehose" has more in common with the Deepwater site, spewing redundant and useless information at a constant pace. In that regard, truth be told, it's not much different from any other communications service - except that alternatives have either explicit or implicit filtering mechanisms. Until I see analytics considerably more sophisticated than "count words to figure out what's popular," my minority opinion of Twitter remains solidly in place:

The #worldcup tag, then, is the foremost miserable experience of this summer's Twitstream — and its crowded crowd-sourcing may suggest that Twitter is even more confusing than previously believed. While 16 percent of Friday afternoon's tweets were legitimate news updates, [from] what we could tell only 7.6 percent actually furthered the conversation.

But more than 75 percent of #worldcup tweets are considerably — if not horrifyingly — less interesting, if not downright useless....

Come Wednesday, you're not going to have a much better time keeping track of the U.S.-Algeria showdown: the last match, filtered by a #USA tag, garnered just 10.6 percent meaningful conversation and 6 percent self-promotion, plus 8.4 percent spam, 30 percent babble, 42 percent re-tweets... and only 2.4 percent legitimate news.

Honestly, I'm impressed the retweet percentage never made it over 50%!

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