Twitter babble twaddle

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Forty percent of the messages on Twitter are “pointless babble”, claims a story doing the rounds at Fairfax and ABC News and elsewhere this morning. It’s rubbish.

In a piece for Crikey today, I dismantle this claim by market intelligence firm Pear Analytics. Their categorisation is vague and arbitrary, and completely misses the point of phatic communication.

Marketer Stephen Dann is even more scathing. In the comments Sarah, who works for Pear Analytics, digs an even deeper hole as she explains her methodology.

If some DJ posted on there they were playing at a club tonight, I counted that as Self Promotion. If some guy tweeted that he was “at the club with his niggaazz and ho’s”, I put it into babble.

So, if they’re a DJ it’s “promotion”, but “some guy” it’s “babble”. How is Sarah judging people’s value here? By whether they’re a DJ or not? By whether they’re communicating business and work needs rather than social? By whether they use “correct grammar” rather than street slang? That’s just snobbery, and possibly even racism.

It’s all just tawdry low-rent pseudo-science at the level of the Ponds Institute. And, as my Crikey piece explains, t’was all just to pimp a product.

The reason the original bullshit story was picked up and spread so fast, though, was that a Twitter backlash has been foretold. More about that tomorrow.

[Hat-tip to @crikey_news for the headline.]