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Of 1.2 Billion Twitter Posts, 71% Are Ignored 192

Posted by timothy
from the stunning-underestimate dept.
destinyland writes "1.2 billion Twitter 'tweets' were analyzed over two months by analytics company Sysomos, who concluded that a whopping 71% of them got no reaction whatsoever — no online responses, and no Twitter 'retweets.' 'Only a small number of users actually have the ability to engage on Twitter in a significant way,' the researchers conclude, noting that just 6% of Twitter's status updates ever get retweeted (while 23% get a reply). And among those status updates, 85% have exactly one response, while only 1.53% of Twitter conversations are more than three levels deep — where a reply receives a response which then generates a second reply." I am astounded by the claim that nearly three out of ten tweets actually do get any response.
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Of 1.2 Billion Twitter Posts, 71% Are Ignored

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  • aww... (Score:5, Funny)

    by metalmaster (1005171) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:07AM (#33858000)
    I guess all the "i showered" "I dressed" "I got in the car" "I drove to work/school" ect... tales of peoples' day just arent *that* exciting
    • Re:aww... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by somersault (912633) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:09AM (#33858014) Homepage Journal

      just because something didn't get an answer, doesn't mean it was "ignored"..

      • Re:aww... (Score:4, Informative)

        by c0mpliant (1516433) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:14AM (#33858074)
        Its usually a good indication that they are ignored or virtually ignored. Perhaps they are read but they would be discarded as quickly as they are read, without any further discussion, comment or "nod of the head" as W B Yeats would say.

        As this comment will probably be.
        • Re:aww... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by martyros (588782) on Monday October 11, 2010 @09:56AM (#33858784)

          Its usually a good indication that they are ignored or virtually ignored.

          Not at all. I don't use Twitter, but the vast majority of Facebook posts I read I don't react to via Facebook. I still read them, and am glad that the person posted them. A smaller number I click "Like", but there's not much else to say. Only a handful do I ever comment on (which would be the "retweet" or "respond" option on twitter).

          That said, I found the signal-to-noise ratio on Twitter *much* lower... which is why I use FB instead. :-)

        • Re:aww... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Culture20 (968837) on Monday October 11, 2010 @10:03AM (#33858836)

          Its usually a good indication that they are ignored or virtually ignored.

          So the social rule on twitter is to always acknowledge receipt of any post? When someone says "I'm in section 2A of the stadium", you're supposed to tweet back "ack'd" instead of going to talk with them in person? If a twitterer gets any responses at all, ever, then that's a good indication that all of their stuff is being read by someone, but only a few things merit a response.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            RT @Culture20 good point #ack
            • RT @Culture20 good point #ack

              Otherwise the acknowledgment isn't acknowledged, and thus ignored. Now somebody has to ack me, otherwise ... etc.

          • Negative, red leader!

            I don't really use twitter, but doesn't the format itself make conversations that are "more than three levels deep" almost impossible because you can't preserve the context? Twitter itself knows how many times each tweet was accessed for display, which is probably proportional to the number of times it's been read. Those statistics would be more informative.
          • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

            Hi Culture20, I did not get your previous message. I thought my lack of reply would let you know so you could re-send it. You didn't. I guess you really don't care about our friendship. I guess that means I don't care any more either, so I'm going to un-slashdot you. Have a nice life.

        • So then, anywhere from 0 to 71% of tweets are ignored?

        • by ebuck (585470)

          Every day we pay attention to traffic signals, but monitoring if we tell the stop signs that we see them isn't the best way to know if we're paying attention to stop signs.

        • Re:aww... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday October 11, 2010 @03:47PM (#33862402)
          I don't do twitter, but I thought the purpose of it was to actually READ the twits, rather than having to respond or forward them? If they're read then they have served their purpose and were not ignored.

          At some point, a conversation has to end. "meet me at the library", "ok, see you there", "ok, got your reply see you there too", "I already said that", "acknowledged", "shut up already", "shutting up now", "nm", "here's a pic of my cat"
      • Re:aww... (Score:5, Funny)

        by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:46AM (#33858276) Homepage Journal

        just because something didn't get an answer, doesn't mean it was "ignored"..

        So, then tweets are like prayers?:

      • Re:aww... (Score:5, Informative)

        by tomhudson (43916) <barbara DOT huds ... a-hudson DOT com> on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:57AM (#33858328) Journal

        just because something didn't get an answer, doesn't mean it was "ignored"..

        The true stats are worse ... as I'll explain below:

        I am astounded by the claim that nearly three out of ten tweets actually do get any response.

        I'm not. "Social marketers" buy twitter accounts in bulk - ten cents apiece.

        Many of the "responses" are from one "bought" account to another to try to generate "buzz" - the true level is probably in the single digits.

      • by camperslo (704715)

        just because something didn't get an answer, doesn't mean it was "ignored"..

        Does recent tech provide a way to count farts?

        In other news, Windows Phone 7 today...

      • And even more, just because something got a reply it doesn't mean that either the original tweet nor the reply actually have any meaningful message.

      • just because something didn't get an answer, doesn't mean it was "ignored"..

        true, just as something getting a response doesn't mean it was in any way an important, interesting, or even cogent thought.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Indeed - if somebody posted something on twitter, and 100 people responded to it, 99% of the tweets involved were "ignored" unless somebody responded to each of those 100 tweets, and so on.

        I imagine the only way to get the ratio anywhere near 50% would be to write a worm that does meaningless replies to any tweets it finds (including its own and its cousins') and get it to propagate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Just Some Guy (3352)

      There are a lot of others, too. I follow quite a few software authors to hear about problems they've found or new releases. "Found a glitch when posting to Reddit" or "Apple just approved version 2.4.1!" don't deserve replies.

      I never retweet famous people or software authors. I figure that if you wanted to hear Conan O'Brien's latest quip, you'd follow him. If you don't own a copy of OmniFocus, then you won't care about a new version. While I don't ignore those tweets, I have no incentive to pass them along

    • by Kenoli (934612)
      It doesn't say they aren't exciting. Only that they aren't responded to.

      But yes they're pretty much all total garbage.
    • by mobby_6kl (668092)

      Okay poop is coming out
      _____________________________
      Alright, poop time.
      _____________________________

    • by Jawnn (445279)
      And in other news, water is wet. Kudos to Sysomos for quantifying the utter uselessness of most Twitter noise.
  • Not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jareth-0205 (525594) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:09AM (#33858012) Homepage

    I don't really see why this is a particularly surprising statistic. So most Tweets are only read by users... Most Slashdot stories I don't reply to and only read, does that mean that Slashdot is somehow limited or has a large number of dead stories? Of course not, it's just that most people do lots more reading than writing.

    • I agree with the article summary author - I can't believe that 29% of tweets get tangible responses - that's an astoundingly high number to me. How many highway billboards get tangible responses? Or paid political advertisements on television? We're a passive media consumer society, just because "media" is now being generated by your friends, I don't expect people to change and actually start engaging with every message that's flashed in front of their face.
    • by srussia (884021)

      Most Slashdot stories I don't reply to and only read, does that mean that Slashdot is somehow limited or has a large number of dead stories?

      No it doesn't, but the fact that you (indeed, we) are replying, doesn't mean the opposite either.

    • by MrMarket (983874) on Monday October 11, 2010 @09:13AM (#33858456) Journal
      Agreed. On /., a response increases the probability that the story was *not* read.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ultranova (717540)

      I don't really see why this is a particularly surprising statistic.

      That dependes: are the responses also counted amongst "twitter posts"? Because if they are, and every one was answered just once, then Twitter would go on forever with a single post and its reply and its reply's reply and so on.

      Most posts must go unreplied, otherwise you get a runaway chain reaction.

    • by fermion (181285)
      I would say most communication is ignored. How much of the daily babble do we really pay attention to? How many millions of dollars are spent on advertising, and how many of those do we really take the time to comprehend, at least from a product point of view. I often analyze ads from design perspective, but the message. Very seldom.

      Unless a tweet is in your timeline, there is an effort involved in reading it. Therefore the number that are ignored is measurable. But what about all the other stuff th

  • Not the point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tpstigers (1075021) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:10AM (#33858020)
    Why are we assuming that tweets are intended to net a response?
    • Re:Not the point (Score:4, Insightful)

      by symes (835608) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:34AM (#33858202) Journal

      Why are we assuming that tweets are intended to net a response?

      Exactly - the thing I like about Twitter is that information can be disseminated passively by, for example, social and sports clubs but in a way that doesn't continually bombard email accounts with endless drivel. I can pop onto twitter and quickly skim to see what is what and not have to delete every damn message, as I do with with spam. So my response to twitter posts can be to go do something in the real world. Outside. A Tweet might even take me somewhere where there's no connectivity at all! So measuring value by retweets is franklly bonkers.

    • Re:Not the point (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LordSnooty (853791) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:53AM (#33858300)
      Twitter - perfecting the art of people talking at, rather than to, each other.
  • Seems low (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cindyann (1916572) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:10AM (#33858030)

    In my case, 100% are ignored.

  • Wow! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:11AM (#33858038)
    You mean to tell me that the majority of people actually do not care about things like "just went to the bathroom" or "I am on a date right now?" Next you'll be telling me that most blogs receive less than 5 unique visitors per year or that the personal webpage I made when I was 13 was ignored!

    Is this really news? I guess the precise number counts as news; I would have placed it somewhere closer to 99%.
  • Dumb title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonescb (1888008) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:11AM (#33858044)
    Just because nobody replies to the tweet doesn't mean people aren't reading it.
    • Re:Dumb title (Score:4, Interesting)

      by arth1 (260657) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:27AM (#33858168) Homepage Journal

      Just because nobody replies to the tweet doesn't mean people aren't reading it.

      It doesn't mean that people are reading it either. And even when they do, they may be skimming through lots and lots of "tweets", and yours just wasn't worth paying attention to. I.e. you tweeted garbage, and people stepped over it.

      That said, I know at least one person who, when getting an IM call from someone, auto-opens the Twitter page for that account, so she can pretend she knew what was going on. Those shallow enough to use Twitter as a diary seem to think she actually reads their tweets regularly and gives half a damn.

      Me? I only look at "tweets" as part of investigations. That's more than enough. I couldn't care less whether "cute kitty is cute" or you listen to D.J. Anus.

    • by parkrrrr (30782)

      Relatedly, just because somebody replies to the tweet doesn't mean people are reading it.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      And just because somebody doesn't reply to the reply to the reply to the original message doesn't mean that they weren't annoyed by having to read all the "me toos..." It should be obvious that in a tree formed of tweets that it is going to be likely that there will be more leaf nodes than internal nodes unless you have really long branches.

  • by fridaynightsmoke (1589903) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:11AM (#33858046) Homepage

    You might as well say that X% of newspaper articles are 'ignored' because they don't generate letters to the Editor about them.

    I am NOT expressing any opinion on the subjective usefulness of the average tweet, however.

    • You might as well say that X% of newspaper articles are 'ignored' because they don't generate letters to the Editor about them.

      I am NOT expressing any opinion on the subjective usefulness of the average tweet, however.

      Interestingly, compared to the well composed letters to the editor, when the newspapers I read opened up online comments, I realized how stupid a lot of the readership is.

  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:12AM (#33858050) Homepage

    The problem is that it's very difficult to fit what you want to say into 140 characters. Unless you're into text speak, you may find that y

  • by Angostura (703910) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:13AM (#33858068)

    I don't use Twitter as any kind of social network, but when I tweet that "The school is closed to due to snow" I know that it isn't ignored, even if no replies are received. In fact, I do sometimes get replied - via e-mail.

    • I don't use Twitter as any kind of social network, but when I tweet

      I don't use words or any kind of typing machine.

  • You should see how many postings on Slashdot get ignored.

    There is not enough hours in the day to read everything you might like.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:16AM (#33858094) Homepage Journal
    If you are using Twitter to have conversations you are doing it wrong. Back in the dinosaur age if something happened to you(passed a test got herpes whatever) you would actually have to phone/write several people saying the exact same thing. You weren't always looking for a response but just wanted to share the news. Thats what twitter is for. It's not really meant for deep conversations.
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:19AM (#33858106)
    29% of tweets aren't ignored. That is an incredibly good hit rate, for what is essentially a write-only, vanity medium. Imagine if that same level of response could be replicated in real life: nearly one-third of the mutterings and grumbles that we hear all the time elicited a response (apart from "Oh, do shut up!") we'd spend all day engaged in pointless and empty conversations with complete strangers.
  • That's a lot more effective than I thought.

  • purpose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frozentier (1542099) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:26AM (#33858164)
    Twitter isn't designed for discussions, it's designed for announcements. If a weatherman makes an announcement that a tornado is forming north of a city, you wouldn't expect everyone - or anyone for that matter - to call him up and have a discussion about it.
    • Twitter isn't designed for discussions, it's designed for announcements. If a weatherman makes an announcement that a tornado is forming north of a city, you wouldn't expect everyone - or anyone for that matter - to call him up and have a discussion about it.

      What little I have seen of twitter (I refuse to use it myself) it seems that unfortunately most announcements are of the class "I am going to toilet", "Britney wears pink thongs today", "Paris Hilton has no panties today either", "My cat is cute".. Ie.

      • by Homburg (213427)

        With the sheer amount of all the pointless stuff there I imagine it's really hard to find those few meaningful tweets unless you know exactly what you're trying to find.

        Welcome to the internet.

  • I'd be more than a tad disturbed if I found one of my friends re-tweeting: "Dude, I just took the largest dump in history!"

    Since when has twitter ever been primarily about being relevant? It's always been about being real-ish, and for most people, reality is not retweet or reply worthy.
  • While the headline says that 71% are "ignored", TFA does at least say that they get "no reaction" (i.e. no reply or retweet). TBH, that's probably reasonable from my experience - I follow several announcement feeds but don't retweet them most of the time because they're specific to my interests and anyone else who is also interested can follow it themselves.

    What I do wonder, though, is what proportion of those multi-level responses (replies to replies) and replies in general are from the unwashed masses wit

    • If only computers could classify "interesting technical pointers, snippets and announcements" versus "inane drivel about bodily functions or other personal activity"

      if you're prepared to accept a 99% level of confidence, the answer is yes, computers can classify inane crap. The simple way to do this is to realise that something over 99% of all internet traffic is inane crap. Therefore saying "all of it" satisfies the 99% requirement (and probably includes this post, too).

  • Approaching 80-20 (Score:5, Informative)

    by srussia (884021) on Monday October 11, 2010 @08:47AM (#33858278)
    Pareto [wikipedia.org] strikes again!
  • Slashdot Posts (Score:2, Interesting)

    by earls (1367951)
    What percentage of slashdot news posts are ignored? Comments? Sounds like the infamous 71/29 rule.
  • Reminds me of the joke, if a tree falls... [cnc.net]
  • This is just a matter of time and you will all realize that buzzwords are still buzzwords. No matter is it 2000 or 2010, some things are just plain stupid and will disappear.

  • a whopping 71% of them got no reaction whatsoever

    Well, good! If you have nothing to say, say nothing.

    • by jcaldwel (935913)

      a whopping 71% of them got no reaction whatsoever

      Well, good! If you have nothing to say, say nothing.

      ...

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday October 11, 2010 @09:28AM (#33858556)
    Considering that the original (and to some extent current) "purpose" of Twitter is for posting where you are and what you are doing at the moment (see the slogan, "What are you doing right now?"), most tweets are probably not intended to be replied to anyway. And in the real world, that is also my experience.
  • It is my belief that this development speaks to the niche that twitter can best fit rather than any flaw in the underlying tool itself. For example, if I have a Nook or Ipad as my book reader, I can do a lot of different things with it and probably will buy fewer paper books to read since I can just read e-books. However, if I want to take something with me to the beach to read (because I usually run there or bike) I will probably take a paperback with me to read rather than my e-reader because the paperbac

  • by binaryseraph (955557) on Monday October 11, 2010 @09:48AM (#33858732)
    Slashdot.
  • Bet this one rolls in the replies, huh?
  • This doesn't surprise me (and I seem to be in the minority here who actually finds Twitter useful). I wonder how many Slashdot comments get replied to. Think about it. Suppose you have 10 comments to an article and 5 of those get 1 reply each. You now have 15 comments with only 5 being replied to, or 66% being "ignored". Add a few more second level comments, some third level comments, some "moderated to -1" comments, some jokes which elicit a "+5 Funny" but no replies, etc and you could easily have ove

  • I can't imagine it's any different on any other social networking site. Even Slashdot has a large percentage of unresponded-to posts.

  • A good number of tweets just post links to other sites (e.g. "Check out this baby panda LOL http:\\bit.ly\whateveh\".) Tweets from companies or blogs do almost nothing but that. It'd be interesting to know what type of clickthrough rate these links get, which the analysis doesn't appear to address.

    .
  • I am astounded by the claim that nearly three out of ten tweets actually do get any response.

    lol

    • Until proven otherwise I’m assuming that’s entirely due to the recent viral self-replicating tweet.

  • That's exactly 29% less of Twitter's posts that I ignore.
  • What if I click on a link? What if I pass that link on to my facebook friends? What If I comment on the forum that link points to and that comment gets re-tweeted. I doubt any of these actions have made the stats. So, the stats might be interesting, but I venture that the name of the stat is mislabled. It should be titled: "Number of tweets that are replied to or retweeted". Nothing more.

  • Rather than looking at the number of replies & retweets, a much better methodology is to look at the number of clicks that a link posted inside a tweet gets.

    When I post a link (using my YOURLS [yourls.org] powered shortener) Approximately 5% of my 600 followers will click the link. Retweets and responses are much more rare than clicks. If anybody clicks the link, the tweet was not ignored, but according to this study they were.

    Regularly I'll tweet something, then a day or two later, I'll have somebody ask me IRL

    • Upon actually reading TFA, it's clear that the submitter added the conclusions about "no reaction" or being "ignored". The study itself doesn't mention the word "ignored", it's strictly a study of rates of replies and retweets.

      Shame on you submitter....

  • I have come to an age and I will tell you something... What? Already bored?

    OK, a one liner then. I hate wasting my time on quick, shallow communication.

    Why would I contemplate chit chat? I'm a geek and I like knowing exactly how people and stuff work. I won't invest time in witnessing symptoms or occasional exclamations.

    I'm surprised 29% of the messages are actually read. Must be the indexing bots. And even those contraptions don't really care.

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