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Twitter has 175M users? The scam of the century

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Follower counts

In a meeting the other day, someone spoke up and said “yeah, but that guy’s big time, he is all over Twitter! His blog says he has thousands of followers.” We found the person on Twitter and found 1,415 followers which is technically more than a thousand, but less than two thousand. Our first thought was “what a liar” followed by “well maybe he only connects with people he knows in real life” followed by “who cares? The numbers are bunk anyway, half of those are bots.”

So we set out to discover the difference between a user and an active user and what we learned will shock you.

Twitter claims 175 million users

Twitter’s about page claims 175 million registered users. We thought that was a clever way of not claiming legitimacy of users- they’re technically not lying that 175 million accounts exist, but an account is not the same as a user. Period. We questioned how many are actually using Twitter? How many are not just parked handles?

According to a Business Insider report, they engineered a code that would analyze Twitter users’ followers and following stats.

The results were shocking. There were 119 million Twitter accounts following one or more other accounts and 85 million accounts with one or more followers. That’s it.

So of the 175 million “registered” users Twitter attempts to impress the public and investors with, there are 56 million accounts following zero other users and 90 million with zero followers.

The report also revealed that there are 56 million accounts following 8 or more accounts, 38 million following 16 or more and only 12 million following 64 people or more.

We would consider an account following 64 or more an active account, meaning that of the 175 million registered users, only 6.8% are legitimate accounts.

How much has been invested per active user?

Twitter has received $360 million in investment over the years and now has 12 million active users, so if we do a little math, the cost is $30 per head which is a far less appealing proposition than $2.05 per head with 175 million users. Bad news, investors.

Twitter’s value proposition

Recent studies show that 50% of all tweets are produced by less than 0.5% of Twitter users. Some would even argue that the 0.5% is in large part marketers and social media experts, not so much consumers looking to connect.

Facebook now sees over 600,000 visitors monthly from around the globe, half of which visit every single day.

If you’re good at math, you add 12 million legitimate users plus high volume by a low number of users plus Facebook’s superior numbers and your result might be that it’s time to jump off of the Twitter ship.

Although we wouldn’t go that far, we would remind the real estate world that cavorting with peers will close far fewer transactions than really digging deep into Twitter and connecting with locals who share your interests, otherwise time is better spent on Facebook or your traditional marketing efforts.

We know of a few agents whose entire referral base is from Twitter and that is great news, but for people short on time wondering why they haven’t hit a homerun on Twitter yet, it’s because there are NOT 175 million users, there are NOT more than 0.5% of the users even tweeting.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Mexican From Mars

    April 6, 2011 at 11:29 am

    not so sure about the scam of the century part, as we have a couple of multi-billion dollar wars that we’re in debt for, but i see what you’re saying.

  2. Indianapolis Homes

    April 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I am one of those who actually loves Twitter and will not be jumping ship. Great resource to get my daily Indianapolis real estate news.

  3. Kelly Leeson

    April 6, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Have to agree with you about connecting with your target audience through twitter or even facebook.
    Both need to be used right and it is difficult to find among the 175m registered accounts the kind of people you need to connect with.

  4. MH for Movoto

    April 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    @Mexican from Mars – HA. You’re quite right.

    While I agree that Twitter has been absurdly over-hyped (it’s not really that interesting, or practical for real people in real life), I wouldn’t call this a “scam”. For one thing, they’re a corporation, a corporations stretch the truth to make themselves look good. It’s so common these days that it’s almost not offensive anymore. For another thing, Twitter CAN still be very useful to those tiny elitist pockets of consistent tweeters – maybe even more so than we thought? Maybe a smaller audience allows a certain focus?

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Social Media

Twitter branches out into voice chat – what could go wrong?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) We’re learning more about Twitter’s forthcoming audio chat rooms, but what is Twitter learning about moderation?

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Twitter open on a smartphone on table next to a cup of warm brown tea.

Twitter wants you to talk more with more people. Like, actually form words. With your mouth.

In November 2020, the micro-blogging giant announced it’s testing its new Audio Spaces feature, which allows users to create audio-only chat rooms – making it what Wired calls a copycat of the new and buzzy Clubhouse app.

Twitter itself hasn’t released many details, but tech blogger/app-feature detective Jane Manchun Wong has been tweeting some of the deets.

How it works

Here’s what we know about the private beta version, according to Wong: Users create a chat room and can control who is admitted to the group, whether it’s the public, followers, or followees. Group size is currently limited to 10. Members can react with a set set of emojis: “100,” raised hand, fist, peace sign, and waving hand. Spaces conversations are not recorded, but they are transcribed for accessibility. It uses Periscope on the back end.

One thing that’s not clear: The actual name. Twitter’s announcements have been calling it Audio Spaces, but the product’s handle is @TwitterSpaces.

It’s Twitter! What could go wrong?

The big gorilla in the chat room is moderation – as in, how do you keep humans from being terrible on Twitter?

We can all be forgiven for skepticism when it comes to Twitter’s aim to keep Audio Spaces safe(ish). Twitter can be a toxic stew of personal insults and even threats. Interestingly, Twitter is starting its test by inviting users who are often targets: Women and people from marginalized groups. Great idea! Who better to help craft community guidelines?

Requiring platforms to shut down hate speech and violent threats is having a moment, and Clubhouse is already in the controversy mix. Even as invite-only, the app has had some high-profile failures to moderate with threats toward a New York Times reporter and a problem anti-semitic conversation. It seems likely Twitter is paying attention.

Also on the safe(ish) side: The space creator is all powerful and can mute or kick out bad actors. Spaces can also be reported. Then there’s the transcription, which sets Audio Spaces apart from similar apps. Chat transcription was aimed at accessibility but, TechCrunch suggests that might help keep things civil and appropriate if people know their words are being written down. Hmm. Maybe?

Also… Why?

It doesn’t appear that there was a groundswell of demand from users, but Audio Spaces at least is something different from the feature pile-on making the social media big dogs start to look the same, as in Twitter’s also-new Fleets, Instagram’s and Facebook’s Stories, Snapchat’s… Snapchat. (See also Instagram’s Reels, Snapchat’s Spotlight, TikTok’s… TikTok.)

Clubhouse does appear to be hugely popular in Silicon Valley – and it has the investment capital to show it – so maybe there’s something to this audio-only chat thing. But we’ve already seen pandemic-fueled Zoom-happy-hour-fatigue, as users have gotten frustrated with too many people talking at the same time. Video chat can give users at least a few more clues about who is talking and who might be about to talk. Audio-only chat seems like it could quickly devolve into a chaotic cacophony.

But, Twitter says, conversation will flow naturally, and it advises users to “be present.”

“Just like in real life, the magic is in the moment,” it says.

It’s beta testers will surely have a lot to say about “magic” and “moderation.”

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New Pinterest code of conduct pushes for mindful posting

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media sites have struggled with harmful content, but Pinterest is using their new code of conduct to encourage better, not just reprimands.

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Pinterest icon on phone with 2 notifications, indicating new code of conduct.

It appears that at least one social media site has made a decision on how to move forward with the basis of their platform. Pinterest has created a brand-new code of conduct for their users. Giving them a set of rules to follow which to some may be a little restricting, but I’m not mad about it. In a public statement, they told the world their message:

“We’re on a journey to build a globally inclusive platform where Pinners around the world can discover ideas that feel personalized, relevant, and reflective of who they are.”

The revamp of their system includes 3 separate changes revolving around the rules of the platform. All of them are complete with examples and full sets of rules. The list is summed up as:

  • Pinterest Creator Code
  • Pinterest Comment Moderation Tools
  • Pinterest Creator Fund

For the Creator Code, Pinterest had this to say: “The Creator Code is a mandatory set of guidelines that lives within our product intended to educate and build community around making inclusive and compassionate content”. The rules are as follows:

  • Be Kind
  • Check my Facts
  • Be aware of triggers
  • Practice Inclusion
  • Do no harm

The list of rules provides some details on the pop-up as well, with notes like “make sure content doesn’t insult,” “make sure information is accurate,” etc. The main goal of this ‘agreement’, according to Pinterest, is not to reprimand offending people but to practice a proactive and empowering social environment. Other social websites have been shoe-horned into reprimanding instead of being proactive against abuse, and it has been met with mixed results. Facebook itself is getting a great deal of flack about their new algorithm that picks out individual words and bans people for progressively longer periods without any form of context.

Comment Moderation is a new set of tools that Pinterest is hoping will encourage a more positive experience between users and content creators. It’s just like putting the carrot before the donkey to get him to move the cart.

  • Positivity Reminders
  • Moderation Tools
  • Featured Comments
  • New Spam Prevention Signals

Sticking to the positivity considerations here seems to be the goal. They seem to be focusing on reminding people to be good and encouraging them to stay that way. Again, proactive, not reactive.

The social platform’s last change is to create a Pinterest Creator Fund. Their aim is to provide training, create strategy consulting, and financial support. Pinterest has also stated that they are going to be aiming these funds specifically at underrepresented communities. They even claim to be committing themselves to a quota of 50% of their Creators. While I find this commendable, it also comes off a little heavy handed. I would personally wait to see how they go about this. If they are ignoring good and decent Creators based purely on them being in a represented group, then I would find this a bad use of their time. However, if they are actively going out and looking for underrepresented Creators while still bringing in good Creators that are in represented groups, then I’m all for this.

Being the change you want to see in the world is something I personally feel we should all strive towards. Whether or not you produced positive change depends on your own goals… so on and so forth. In my own opinion, Pinterest and their new code of conduct is creating a better positive experience here and striving to remind people to be better than they were with each post. It’s a bold move and ultimately could be a spectacular outcome. Only time will tell how their creators and users will respond. Best of luck to them.

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Facebook releases Hotline as yet another Clubhouse competitor

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As yet another app emerges to try and take some of Clubhouse’s success, Facebook Hotline adds a slightly more formal video chat component to the game.

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Woman forming hands into heart shape at laptop hosting live video chat, similar to Facebook's new app Hotline

Facebook is at it again and launching its own version of another app. This time, the company has launched Hotline, which looks like a cross between Instagram Live and Clubhouse.

Facebook’s Hotline is the company’s attempt at competing with Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, which was released on iOS in March 2020. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported Facebook had already begun working on building its own version of the app. Erik Hazzard, who joined Facebook in 2017 after the company acquired his tbh app, is leading the project.

The app was created by the New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, Facebook’s experimental development division, and it’s already in beta testing online. To access it, you can use the web-based application through the platform’s website to join the waitlist and “Host a Show”. However, you will need to sign in using your Twitter account to do so.

Unlike Clubhouse, Hotline lets users also chat through video and not just audio alone. The product is more like a formal Q&A and recording platform. Its features allow people to live stream and hold Q&A sessions with their audiences similar to Instagram Live. And, audience members can ask questions by using text or audio.

Also, what makes Hotline a little more formal than Clubhouse is that it automatically records conversations. According to TechCrunch, hosts receive both a video and audio recording of the event. With a guaranteed recording feature, the Q&A sessions will stray away from the casual vibes of Clubhouse.

The first person to host a Q&A live stream on Hotline is real-estate investor Nick Huber, who is the type of “expert” Facebook is hoping to attract to its platform.

“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community,” the spokesperson added.

According to a Reuters article, the app doesn’t have any audience size limits, hosts can remove questions they don’t want to answer, and Facebook is moderating inappropriate content during its early days.

An app for mobile devices isn’t available yet, but if you want to check it out, you can visit Hotline’s website.

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