Thursday, July 09, 2009

Survey Says: Twitter not for everyone- including devleopers

Twitter addicts, brace yourselves. This news may come as a bit of a shock to the system. While I'm sure your tweets are the creative equivalents of a brilliant novel written one sentence at a time, more than half the world- the developer world- is not listening. According to the most recent poll run on Telerik Watch, which serves a diverse .NET developer audience, almost a full half of poll takers (46%) never use Twitter. That doesn't mean they tried it and quit (another 10% of poll takers did that). No, this half apparently has no interest in the Twitter phenomenon, bucking the conventional wisdom (by some accounts) that "everyone" (especially in the developer community) is on Twitter. In fact, according to the poll results, only a quarter of developers (24%) are actively engaged in Twitter. And "actively" is a loose term here. The poll asked people to consider themselves "active" if they make occasional tweets to their Twitter accounts. The final almost 20% of developers use Twitter in "read-only mode," only reading others tweets and contributing none of their own. And while the snapshot results here represent a smallish sample size (about 70 people), they are very consistent with "straw polling" I've done as a speaker at events around the world with .NET audiences. The conclusion seems to be obvious: Twitter is popular for a very specific "segment" in the developer audience, but it clearly is not universally appealing. It would be fascinating to conduct additional studies to try to find any links between those people that do and don't enjoy Twitter. Is it a factor of age? Region? Job type? Observational logic does not supply any sound support for those theories. Perhaps the reason more than half of the people polled don't like Twitter is mismatched expectations. The majority of "tweeters" seem to treat Twitter as an unfiltered megaphone of their life activity. There's no crime in that, but unlike other written medium (including blogs), that diarrhea of the keyboard tends to create a lot of "noise," and not a lot of "signal." It's easy to be turned-off by Twitter after reading for the 10th time about some other relative-strangers "fascinating" lunch menu. I expect many people- self included- don't have the time or desire to keep-up with thousands- or even hundreds- of people's daily details, and that group instead chooses to keep the "signal clear" and stick with less polluted communication channels. What do you think? I intentionally kept this poll off of the "Twitter radar" to avoid skewing the votes, but I'm curious to get all opinions on the results. Why do you think such a large chunk of .NET developers stay away from Twitter? Are you among them? And if you do use Twitter often, how do you manage the signal-to-noise problem? Sound-off in the comments and then don't forget to tweet about the Telerik Q2 2009 release (#telerikq209)! <rimshot />


Kilhoffer said...

I can't speak for others, but I stayed away from Twitter because my teenage daughter uses it. :-) Seemed juvenile to me. Recently, however, I've started using to keep track of certain people in the industry and to share thoughts with a few friends. Oh, boy. What have I reduced myself to? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Well for me Twitter is like : too much informations kill informations.

It is enough time killing to follow blogs even with RSS, twitter is like sms/everywhere/everyone so I call it : SMS2.

Anonymous said...

I find the basic premise that I would somehow be interested in random thoughts & phrases, to be rather irritating... let alone the annoying SMS speak that goes with it.

I'm sure that many will claim otherwise, be seriously, I'm yet to see one that doesn't just simply scream "look at me" rather than provide something useful.