As a general statement, Twitter is littered with junk. I won't disagree with that. Quantifying the junk is a separate task, however. I recently read this quality post on CNET news by Caroline McCarthy about a recent study that puts Twitter traffic at around 40% junk or "pointless babble." That is about right, in my opinion. I frequently jump onto trending topics (those are the terms preceded by the "#" sign) on posts and can get quickly taken into other worlds that don't exactly feel like the same site that I have used before. I like to think of clicking into trending topics and ending up in somewhat awkward locations as being similar to going to the mall to get a shirt but ending up in a very popular store surrounded by teenagers.
But, Twitter does have good value in its content. The microblogging site is emerging for use as a recruiting tool, for example. The use case is simple, the cost is low, and the reach can be broad for both organizations and candidates. Use of social networking tools as a whole for this purpose is not new, LinkedIn being the prime example.
Twitter conversations can bring replies from other members that can add value to your perspective. Frequently, when I am in a conversation with another Twitter member a number of people will pipe up with relevant commentary. This can include people I don't follow or possibly who don't follow me, as trending topics can pool conversation across follower zones.
I'm convinced that a good set of Twitter members to follow is very valuable, but I have to be careful not to follow too many as this service can quickly become unmanageable. There is no good number of people to follow to use as a meter stick for manageability, as the amount of Twitter posts is a big deal also.
On my Twitter page, I am starting a new strategy to post in "batch mode" for a number of reasons. Primarily to use my time better, as I will post and digest the Twitter traffic all at once in larger time blocks less frequently. Another reason for batch mode is related to my prior point of overposting and frequency of Tweets. I am convinced that less and less people are interested in what I am doing for lunch or whether my socks match, but what is relevant to their technology duties at the moment.
Where do you see Twitter traffic from a value proposition? Sure there is garbage out there. Depending on who you know and follow, there can be good information at the right price. Share your comments and Twitter username (if applicable) below.
Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.