Twitter No Longer Social Network: More An Information Hub?

Here at OSM we’re often posting articles about Twitter, the popular social network, but it seems as though it may not have quite the social side that we thought, and is instead becoming more of an information hub. If you look at a new statistic that says that half of total tweets consumed are made by just 0.05% of Twitter users, it does rather back up this thought.

A new Yahoo Research study giving the above statistic, “Who Says What on Twitter?” was brought to our attention by Brian Anthony Hernandez over on Mashable, and makes fascinating reading. One billion tweets a week are issued on Twitter and the study looked at 260 million tweets with URLs. Of those, it was noted that 4 main groups accounted for 50% of consumed tweets and those groups were organizations, bloggers, celebrities and media. These groups were dubbed in the study as “elite” users.

If Twitter is really a ‘social networking site’ the term implies a certain amount of two-way interaction but many celebrities for example have vast amounts of followers but don’t follow those people in return (understandably). Yesterday we reported how Lady Gaga now has over 9 million Twitter followers, so as far as most celebrities go, the site is used more for giving out information rather than socializing. ‘Elite’ users were much more likely to follow other ‘elite’ users while ‘ordinary’ Twitter users tweets consumption was largely made up of ‘elite’ tweets.

It does seem then that there is a case for Twitter to be known as an information hub rather than a social networking site. We’d like to know your thoughts on this. If you think of the way you use Twitter would you say you’re more likely to be gleaning information than socializing? Let us have your comments on this.