Alternate Reality

80 Percent of Twitter Studies ‘Pointless Babble,’ Researchers Find

A new report suggests most Twitter studies are made up of “pointless babble.” The studies appear to exist “only for the sake of discussion,” researchers say.

By (@JRRaphael)

August 18, 2009

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

Twitter Studies: Pointless BabbleAn overwhelming 80 percent of Twitter-related studies are “pointless babble,” according to some new research being released this week.

The research, led by Drs. Harden Thicke and Ilene South, examined a random sampling of studies focused on Twitter over the past several months. The vast majority, it found, had no legitimate applications outside of generating discussion within Twitter and the plethora of blogs that constantly cover it.

“Most of these studies tell us nothing relevant to anyone’s actual life,” says Thicke, who previously published a scientific study finding scientific studies to be misleading. “They are good, however, for creating buzz amongst Twitter users.”
Drs. Harden Thicke and Ilene South
Some of the Twitter studies analyzed by Thicke and South include one from Harvard, which proclaimed “Men Follow Men and Nobody Tweets”; one from Pew Internet, which stated that 19 percent of young adults have used Twitter at least once; and, most notably, a recent report from Pear Analytics that concluded 40 percent of the content on Twitter is “pointless babble.”

(The similarity between that finding and their own, Thicke and South assure, is purely coincidental.)

In addition to the 80 percent of “pointless babble,” Thicke and South’s research suggests most Twitter studies contain 5 percent “pass-along value”; 8 percent “self-promotion”; and 7 percent “mind-numbing bullshit no one other than a ‘social media expert’ could possibly give a flying fuck about.'”

The full report is set to appear in the next edition of Research on Research Quarterly.

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