Blog Archives

What it says in the Comments…. about twitter

My curiosity is piqued when I see a list of comments that takes up 8 times the length of the blog post they relate to. For one blog post, there were 80 comments. This mean that for one opinion, there were 80 other corresponding opinions. The power of the blog is alive and well in all its glory as a 2-way stream of opinions.

To be more specific, the power of Twitter is alive and well, at least with some.

The blog posting referred to Twitter’s low audience retention rate. Statistics given demonstrate that, even with a boost from the highly influential Oprah Winfrey, 6 out of 10 twits “do not return the following month”. This puts Twitter well below Face book and MySpace in this regard.

But the real power, and the most interesting reactions came from the comments and their authors. I’m honestly not sure what I’m more impressed with –  the ability of a blog post to generate 8 times its own volume in comments thereby saying something very interesting about the blog as a medium of communication, or the contents of those comments.

Starting with the contents, here’s what I learned (with apologies if I have mis-interpeted anything) –

  • Twitter is all about narcissism
  • Once certain celebs emphasise it, its coolness quotient drops dramatically among other people
  • Twitter users get out what twitter users put in
  • Those who use it seems happy with it and will likely remain so until something better comes along
  • Becoming a twit requires times and investment
  • Random babble, or questionable facts and opinions or discovery of new people and facts and views, or/and keeping up to date
  • Trivialises the meaning of ‘friends’.
  • Emphasises society’s pressure for more – more friends, more followers, more brownie points, etc
  • Twitter is useful for following those you don’t know, as opposed to Facebook’s “friends” concept
  • Facebook is a richer app than Twitter for talking to customers
  • Twitter might just do one thing, but it does it very very well
  • Twitter is about only one thing “Status Updates”, a feature that is merely one of many in MySpace and Facebook. Has twitter taken a step back in this regard?
  • Updates on Facebook may or may not be read by friends, Twitter is much better at reaching out
  • Twitter is the opposite of Facebook in that it is high frequency but short bursts of engagement
  • Comparing Twitter and Myspace is like comparing apples and oranges
  • Re-tweets on Twitter get the ball rolling in a way limited by Facebook – the viral effect
  • Twit searches are real-time, not indexed like in Google
  • A form of social currency
  • Being “followed” is oddly amusing but meaningless
  • There is no manual for Twitter because it is different for everyone
  • Blogging  is a way of sharing short and well formed thoughts, Twitter is a way of sharing tiny ill-formed thoughts
  • Interface that’s easy to use, but the value behind it is more challenging to figure out
  • Posting for posting sake
  • and finally, and arguably the one that brings it all together…. Twitter is merely a shift in how we gather and share what we know, think and wonder about

Nielsen were so impressed with the reaction they were quick to satisfy many commenter’s curiosity, and pointed out that they included both traffic directly on twitters website and 30 sites that feed to twitter.

Look how much I’ve learned about twits and their opinions (good, bad, and indifferent) about twitter from one short blog post. If that doesn’t demonstrate the power of the blog I don’t know what would.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me. I’m off to a rugby match that I will be watching and enjoying i.e. not distracting myself from it by tweeting about it


What’s higher education all about – it’s all about opinions

John Kelly has a piece in todays Irish Times calling for a review of higher education.  Some aspects I agreed with and some I rather didn’t.  But this post isn’t about my opinion, or at least, not overtly my opinion on what higher education is about?

The end of the article had a “have your say on this article on”.  A-ha, the joy of the 2 way online world. Any interested Joe Soaps can post their opinion on what is published in the print edition.

I logged on and had a look. There was just one comment, but what a comment!  It was from Disillusioned Lecturer.  S/he starts with “Oh give me strength”. Then, s/he goes on to wonder why there is a call for yet another taskforce / committee spending more scarce resources on more bureaucracy, adding to lecturer’s work and administered by those not in a position to be administering them.

But, this post is not about Disillustioned Lecturer’s opinion either (even if very interesting).

It’s about the concept of opinions!

  • I love the way the Internet allows airing of such opinions. Anyone (ok, admittedly within reason) can log on and give their twopence worth and have it read. Long gone are the days when journalists had all the power. Now, they have to somehow accommodate the views of Joe Soaps. At the very least, they need to be cognizant of them.
  • I’m often struck by how the first comment is a list can set the scene for any other potential comments that might follow.  In this case, there’s only the one comment. Why? Is the tone and content of this comment such that Disillusioned Lecturer has said it all, is difficult to argue against, or something else?
  • Are commenters more or less likely to comment on an opinion piece of journalism or a factual piece of journalism? Why might this be the case?
  • Should opinion pieces have a place in “news” papers. Can someone’s opinion be classified as news?
  • How informed does an opinion have to be before it can be considered to have any weight?

A post about opinions, that ends up asking questions about opinions – what’s your opinion?

Should questions always be posed of opinions so that said opinions are made as robust and reliable as possible?  What role might the 2-way interactive nature of the Internet play in this endeavour?