Sunday, August 23, 2009

From the Files of the Department of Pointless Research

According to a study by Pear Analytics, an American market research firm, 40% of all "tweets" are "pointless babble". This raises a few questions in my mind-

1.)How did the designers of the study determine their definition of "pointless babble"? They cite "I'm eating a sandwich" as an example, but it seems to me this really depends on one's perspective. Perhaps for the large cohort of Twitter users who employ the service as a medium for vapid narcissism, reading news updates tweeted from the streets of Tehran is pointless babble, whereas reading about themselves or their friends having a tasty pastrami-on-rye is the apex of fulfilling interpersonal communication.

2.)What percentage of tweets were they expecting to consist of meaningful content? It's a microblogging service that restricts you to 140 characters per post, after all.

3.)What are the other 60% of Twitter posts? Lines from lost works of Shakespeare? Bits of the unifying theory of physics?

4.)Who decided to commission this study, and presumably pay people to design it and carry it out? In this economy, it seems like a marketing firm would have better things to do, like, say, helping its clients sell their products and keep their businesses afloat.

All questions to ponder.

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