Opinion: The Twitter lie

POSTED: 02/2/12 2:27 PM

We don’t want to be overly cynical, no matter how much fun this sometimes is, but we just think that the Netherlands has established a record that is reason for serious concern. We’re pretty critical of social networks, though with Facebook going public it’s hard to deny that there is money to be made with it. The Netherlands has now established itself as the undisputed King of Twitterland.
Seriously, while the United States has the most twitter accounts (107.7 million, more than half of the global total), users in the Netherlands are the most active on Twitter. That made us wonder if the users of this network are tweeters, twitterers or – the most likely option – simply twits. (If you don’t know what a twit is you probably are one).
The Netherlands has something like 5 million twitter accounts, but then there are not even 17 million inhabitants against the 313 million in the States.
Here is where the craziness of this system becomes apparent: between September 1 and November 30 of last year 33 percent of Dutch twits placed at least one tweet. What does this mean? Right, the other 67 percent did absolutely nothing with its twitter-account for three months straight.
Still the spin doctors in the twitterzone now let us know that the Dutch are the most active twitter users in the world. What does this mean? Right, there are gazillions of people who once set up a twitter-account, probably out of pure curiosity, and then decided that it was a lot of hot air and to do absolutely nothing with it.
We read a rather humorous explanation in a report from Semiocast, the company that did the twitter-research. It said that the global average twitter-use is just 27 percent. Why? Because most people use the service to read tweets from others.
It’s the perfect spin to explain why there are millions of most likely dormant and therefore useless and unused accounts. All these numbers make twitter look like some kind of social media miracle, while in reality more than 80 percent of the people who ever opened an account, never do anything with it.

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