Pear Analytics recently completed a study on Twitter to find out what people are really using Twitter for.  They have compared their research to other studies that were recently done to see how the data compared and if there were any correlations.

Twitter recently re-vamped their homepage moving away from “What are you doing now?” to “Share and discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world“.  With that marketing message in place,  is Twitter trying to become a real news source by citizen journalists?

When you go to the sign up page, it prompts users “Join the conversation“.  Are people only tweeting about news topics and discussing important events taking place? Or is it a great place to promote your company’s products or services?  Are there any meaningful conversations taking place or senseless babble?  How do people use Twitter?

In the study Pear Analytics completed, these were some of the questions that they explored when they researched this topic.

You can find the study here: Twitter-Study-August-2009

Some information found on the study:

Twitter Demographics

According to Quantcast, Twitter has some interesting demographics that they have estimated as of June 2009

  • Twitter reaches 27 million people per month in the U.S.
  • 55% are female
  • 43% are between 18 and 34
  • 78% Caucasian, but African American users are 35% above Internet average
  • Average household income is between $30 and $60k
  • 72% are passers‐by, while only 27% are regular users

Pear Analytics categorized the tweets into six possible categories:

  1. News (Any sort of main stream news that you might find on your national news stations such as CNN, Fox or others. This excludes Social Media News)
  2. Spam (These are the tweets such as “See how I got 3,000 followers in one day” type of tweets.)
  3. Self Promotion (These are typical corporate tweets about products, services, or “Twitter only” promos.)
  4. Pointless Babble (These are the “I am eating a sandwich now” tweets.)
  5. Conversational (These are tweets that go back and forth between folks, almost in aninstant message fashion, as well as tweets that try to engage
    followers in conversationon, such as questions or polls
    .)
  6. Pass-Along Value (These are any tweets with an “RT” in it.)

With the categories above the outcome were:

Pear Research Results:

  1. Pointless Babble: 40.55%
  2. Conversational: 37.55%
  3. Pass-Along Value: 8.70%
  4. Self Promotion: 5.85%
  5. Spam: 3.75%
  6. News: 3.60%

Twitter continues to evolve as a brand and from a user’s perspective.  It is likely that these patterns will differ from future studies.  Pear Analyticts didn’t predict that conversational would be as high as it was and Self-Promotion so low.

Pear Analytics will be publishing updated data quarterly to identify the new trends and it will be interesting to view the new results and how they compare with this study.