Discussion: The Mystery of Twitter Revealed by Harvard Business School…

The following is the discussion I started about the above topic on LinkedIn groups “Let’s Connect,” “Wines & Spirits,” “National Restaurant Association” and “Wine 2.0.” The contributors’ names have been abbreviated and the comments from both groups printed together.


You can read a short article from HBS on my bloghttp://readbycush.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/new-twitter-research-nobody-tweets/outlining a recent research on the twitter use. What do you think??? I think HBS makes a lot of sense especially since very few people have any clear opinion of what Twitter really is!

Posted 14 days ago | Delete discussion

Michael J

Great article. Thanks, Cush!

Posted 14 days ago | Reply Privately

Cush D.

You are welcome

Posted 13 days ago | Delete comment

Gretchen R.

Interesting curve: 10 percent of people account for 90 percent of tweets? My question is, if you’re following 14,000 people…are you really? Or is it a vanity contest?

Posted 14 days ago | Reply Privately

Kooshyar D.

It is a great point….One of the most confusing questions about twitter is “What is Twitter?” This article is really going in that direction by doing specifics. Most people cannot figure out what does it do that is a big deal besides tweeting of course. 50% of people who join quit within one month!!! So what is it? Many believe it is that darn number (14000). The number becomes a measure for the size of one’s ego. 14000 following the person. How many of them really read his tweets??? As the article says probably nobody.

Posted 13 days ago | Delete comment
Scott G.

As I too am getting caught up in social networking, I am primarily looking to use it as a business marketing tool, to ‘interact’ more with target customers. The bottom line of the HBS article seems to validate this effort: “This implies that Twitter’s (contributions) resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network.”
So, why wouldn’t a marketer want to use Twitter or Facebook as a further communication tool, especially when it’s ‘free’? Hey, I DON’T know everything, but thanks for sharing this HBS article!

Posted 14 days ago | Reply Privately

Claire Mary H.

Anyone else encounter this?


Sadly, no one or no app is safe anymore…

Posted 14 days ago | Reply Privately

Kooshyar D.

Yes spam is a huge problem with twitter and the reason goes unnoticed is because most folks do not read the tweets they subscribe to at all!!!!!!

Posted 13 days ago | Delete comment

Scott G.

OK, both of you participants are experienced in this area, and I see the volume of tweets for me adding up exponentially- but as a user, don’t I have the power to remove offenders I’m following? Can’t I block people who are following me? I see other pure marketers like KFC with 5,000+ followers, actively engaging with followers. This is not spam, is it? I know spam from my email, and I pay to keep it out of my box. I guess I’d just like your opinion about using Twitter to spread my marketing message. If those who follow me are ‘opting in’, then it’s not really spam. If my message doesn’t stand out, it’ll be ignored, but isn’t that really MY problem? Just struggling with how best to use this potentially strong new tool.

Posted 13 days ago | Reply Privately

Jeffrey S.

You’re exactly right Scott. Spam isn’t a problem for anyone on Twitter as it’s totally your decision to follow or unfollow someone. And there are plenty of 3rd party applications to help you filter everyone and everything. And let’s also be clear on another point, Social Media platforms should not necessarily be your entire marketing strategy. They are simply tools in a much bigger toolbox. To be used as much or as little as your business and marketing strategy dictates.

The point is not that Twitter (or any SM) is or isn’t anything specifically. The user will determine what each platform is for themselves based on what their individual goals are for the medium they engage with.

You cannot look at Social Media or any of the new media through the perspective of old media. HBS and the rest of the confused world need to get their heads unstuck from the past quickly or they’ll be left behind.

Posted 13 days ago | Reply Privately

Kooshyar D.

Can and do are not the same.

Hypothetically, a lot of things can happen and twitter can be a lot of things and do a lot of things. In reality, as of right now, HBS research shows one view of what is going on within Twitter network.

Do a google search, and another study recently showed 50% of people who sign up to use twitter quit within the first month. Even spam problem aside, the platform offers a small percentage of what people assume it does. The mystery of twitter lies in everyone having a different of what twitter is and what it is good for. Facebook, and other social media platforms did not have an identity crisis because they served a genuine need. Everybody thinks the other person is getting what twitter really offers (since 2001?) but they cannot figure it.

The charm of twitter lies in measuring one’s ego by adding up to the magic number of followers. Even if that is KFC who is following them in return for following KFC.

You can tell by looking how many are followed versus followers. They are usually very close. That is the ego growing. Do you read 10000 people’s tweets??? block out the spam ones???

Posted 13 days ago | Delete comment

Scott G.

As part of my toolbox, I don’t see a down side to riding this wave of social media. I know of another chain that is texting instant coupons to cell phone followers, and experiencing instant response. I don’t know why we couldn’t do a similar thing on Twitter. It’s not necessarily my ego I’m trying to feed- I’m looking for that point of differentiation from other competitors, to grow our business. I don’t think we’ll get an Oprah-sized response, but again, it’s low cost to try it.

Posted 13 days ago | Reply Privately

Mary Ann M.

Harvard, huh? I have to laugh when I think of the number of Harvard Business School grads who p*ssed away millions in what when from a dot com boom to a huge bust. And btw, I think man of us have very strong opinions on social media — especially Twitter.

Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately

Kooshyar D.

True. But I am afraid the same opinion is being circulated by others. A second research came up last week substantiating HBS and even a little harsher. Many people like twitter but the fact remains too many people cannot understand how a micro-blog software imitating text messages from a cellphone can be so great when they fail to personally experience it. I guess it is a question of judgement.

Posted 2 days ago | Delete comment


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