Why do we use twitter? I had a couple of conversations with students about Twitter over the last week. We (at least I) discussed how it could be a useful tool. “Tool” being the operative word – the old saying “A tool is only as good as the person using it” – seems to be in play here. I agreed with them that it could be a useless self-aggrandising tool but it could also be much more.
I know that there people who have to decide what to do about social media such as Twitter, especially when it might be an important commercial decision. In schools, is it a useful and safe tool for students to use. I talked about some of the uses that I had noticed and now there is some data. TNS and The Conference Board have just completed a study investigating this newsworthy Web2.0 tool.
Whilst there are good number of us who use it to keep in touch with friends the breakdown looks like this:
41.4% use it to keep in touch with friends
29.1% used it to update their status,
25.8% to find news and stay updated
21.7% for work purposes
and 9.4% for research.
School educational uses (and I have posted about some of them in this blog) do not seem to have been incorporated into this marketing study. Of course there is some overlap in the results but it is interesting that non-social uses are in the majority. The self-promotion and headline grabbing uses that have have dominated in the news media and been responsible for the contempt shown for this this tool appear to be wrong. It is still in its very early days but education and information seems to be a very big part of the way it is going.