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« Motivations, Conversations and Book-Centered Sociality | Main | The Commoditization of Twitter Followers »


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» The Commoditization of Twitter Followers from Gumption
I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I see - and have increasingly experienced - many benefits to its use, especially with respect to its propensity to foster meaningful new connections with consequential strangers and acquaintances. However, ... [Read More]

» Power Laws and Pyramids: Participation, Gratification, and Distraction in Social Media from Gumption
I've been thinking and reading a lot lately about the different ways we can participate in social media, how others' responses to the social media content we produce can promote a sense of gratification, and how this - and any... [Read More]


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Josh Bernoff

I respect the Pew folks, they do good research. We used different methodologies, theirs is a phone survey, ours is an online survey, but I don't believe that is behind the discrepancy.

More likely this is a result of how the question was asked. Our question is very straightforward, we ask if you post to Twitter and how frequently, and if you update your status in a social network and how frequently.

Pew's question is worded like this: "Use Twitter or another service to share updates about yourself or to see updates about others." Question wording matters. I can only think that some of the types of people in our survey who said yes to updating in a social network said no to their question. By putting Twitter into their question along with "another service" it is possible that some people would not see, say, Facebook updates as applying. (Strange, but as I said, question wording matters.)

In the end, all we can tell you is how people answered our questions, not what was in their minds or how it compares to their actual behavior.

The other possible source of discrepancy is sample. Our online sample tends to be a little more active (we know this because we can compare it to other surveys we do by mail with the same questions) but not enough to account for this level of difference.

Joe McCarthy

Josh: thanks for the clarifications! I, too, respect Pew's research, as I do Forrester's, so I'm grateful for the opportunity to better understand how two such prestigious organizations came up with such different results.

I believe that question wording can make a very big difference, but I'm also wondering if there might be a difference in the numbers of questions. For example, from what you said about your question wording, I'm wondering if your survey used two different questions, i.e., one question about "if you post to Twitter and how frequently" and another on "if you update your status in a social network and how frequently". I can imagine someone being more likely to think about Facebook (or another service) in a separate question from a question about Twitter, than in a question that combines Twitter or another service", as Pew posed.

I can also imagine that a survey being conducted via a web browser - through which many people use Twitter, Facebook and other services to post or view status updates - may have more of a priming effect than a survey conducted over landline phone.

[Update: I just popped back over to Josh's blog post, where he addressed several questions that I and other readers had posted in comments there. In his response [there], he noted:

"Our data clients are welcome to use their own measurements (they can easily separate Twitter from social networks because we asked the questions separately) ..."

confirming my suspicion about separate questions.]

boca codes

Great article!Social media allows us to discover,connect and engage with new people of interest. While most people are open to new connections and receiving messages from people they don’t know that there is a fine line between reaching out and spamming. The challenge is to make a connection clearly and effectively without wasting people’s time.Many of us are on both sides of this relationship-sometimes making the connection, sometimes receiving the invitation.

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