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Why the press sucks, example MMCLXVII - Elf M. Sternberg
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Why the press sucks, example MMCLXVII
Mashable today published a completely ordinary article entitled "The Truth About the Average Twitter User" with some of that ridiculous and hyberbolic verbage [sic] I've come to expect from Internet media.

Here are the important conclusion, broken into simple points:
  • 1/3 of all the people who sign up for twitter never post a single tweet. We have no idea if they signed up to read, or what. But they never post
  • 3/4 of all the people who signed up for twitter have posted 10 tweets or less
  • Less that 1/5 of Twitter users could be considered "active."
From this, the Ric Romero at Mashable concludes:

"Power users dominate."

Well, you could have knocked me over with a Chuck Norris roundhouse, but not much else. Everyone who's ever run a social networking site, even something as trivial as a forum, knows what Ben Parr is breathlessly describing is big bold letters. (Sorry, am I using my powers for evil there?) The less the weight for signing up for anything, the more people you'll get to sign up who will never again do anything with it. I'm sure there are several dozens of places across the Intertubes where I've signed up for something, looked a couple of times, and never come back because it didn't offer me anything I didn't already have through LiveJournal, Wordpress, or Flickr. Twitter's weight is the lightest of all-- after you sign up there's no obligation and you don't even get emails when you're away for a while.

Every website operator knows that users inevitably settle into the power curve. There's no getting around it. Twitter is so spectacularly ordinary that the only thing that surprises me is that Mashable thought it worthy of posting an article along the lines of the sky is blue and water is wet.

Still, I'm not worried. Nobody will read it anyway.

For his sins, Ben Parr is consigned to reading Clay Shirky's "Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality," in which Clay explains in language far more effective than mine why Ben needs to do more research before posting.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

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Comments
rhonan From: rhonan Date: March 12th, 2010 07:01 am (UTC) (Link)
True, but that does overlook one category of of people who sign up on social networking sites: people who are power-users of one or two sites, who want to make sure they have their favorite handle reserved in case some new social networking site gets legs, or who merely want to make sure no one else can use 'their' handle on another site.
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