Conversational aspects of retweeting..

Some of you may have heard of Danah Boyd before, she’s a fairly well known researcher in all this new media malarky. When I was doing my dissertation a few years back now on social networking and it’s value to business, I got in touch and asked her a few questions. This was before that thing called Twitter, which everyone talks about now. My research focussed partly on how people and brands were using Facebook and considering it was for an academic piece of research for University, it was something I actually quite enjoyed doing.

Now, I’m living and breathing it all daily and Danah is part of the research team in New England at Microsoft and has written a hugely scientific yet interesting and informative paper on the conversational aspects of retweeting. It’s currently in draft form with the finished copy to be published in January 2010, yet still already spans 11 pages. The other researchers involved are Scott Golder and Gilad Lotan.

The report is based on analysis of over over 700,000 tweets (440,000 or so users), taken in samples of five minute chunks between January and June 2006. This, I feel is a problem when undertaking such research. Because of the enormity of the numbers, it is expected that this kinda thing isn’t conducted and written over night. However, samples taken in 2006 will have only been focussing on the VERY early adopters. Usage patterns will have changed since then. Although I signed up on Twitter in April 2007, it wasn’t until mid to late 2008 that I really started using and understanding the service. My uses, habits and processes for using Twitter have changed since then. It’s impossible to be able to follow everyone back now for starters and I now use services like Twitterfeed which pushes new posts out that I publish here on to Twitter. It’s a lot deeper than a simple Facebook status update (which is what most compare it to who haven’t tried it out).

If ever you wondered why people retweet and what they do it for, wonder no longer!

Highly recommend checking out the rest of it here and also follow Danah on Twitter here. Scott is @redlog and Gilad is @gilgul.

A few quick facts from the research via Antony Mayfield:

  • 36% of tweets mention a user in the form ‘@user’
  • 5% of tweets contain a hashtag (#)
  • 22% of tweets include a URL (’http’)
  • 3% of tweets are likely to be retweets in that they contain ‘RT’, ‘retweet’ and/or ‘via’
  • 9% of retweets include the users own handle – dubbed “ego retweets” (though as Antony notes, the paper acknowledges sometimes this can be “a way of giving credit” or saying thank you.)
  • ‘RT’ is very much the predominant form, with 88% of the retweets using this (Tweetie please take note and change your app’s retweet function).

Heralding a new era of social gaming..

I noticed this rather bullish full page advert from Microsoft in a recent issue of MCV and it struck me that we’re now entering in to a new era of social gaming. The potential is limitless.

Before it’s even available for gamers to try out today, the functionality with Twitter and Facebook on the 360 is being talked up, and talked up it should. This cannot be underestimated. It’s bringing social networking in to your living room and on your TV.  It’s also a huge USP for the Xbox 360 in it’s ongoing and bloody battle against the Playstation 3. The launch of the PS3 Slim was timely met by Microsoft with a price cut of their own and puts the ball back in Sony’s court.

For social networking to now be a selling point on a games console shows how far it’s come. This is great news for Facebook and Twitter (perhaps more so for Twitter) because it takes it to another level, that bit more mainstream. Everyone uses Facebook, Twitter is still a nice communications tool. It might help more people understand it and ‘get’ it.

Little is known how they are going to look on your TV screen and how they are going to connect to your gaming experience and whilst I hope my feeds are not going to be spammed by friends who have just gained achievement X on game X, it shows that gaming is no longer something that’s done by a stereotypically aged male in a darkened room. They are now the entertainment hubs, in your living room and providing fun for all the family.

Social Gaming