CS Chris Smith
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What Techies Tweet

by Chris Smith

I was curious as to what value I was getting out of following people in the tech industry on Twitter. Are they sharing useful information or just sharing pictures of their pets? Is it jokes and memes, self-promotion, sharing useful resources, praise, criticism, politics? I studied 100 consecutive tweets to get an idea.

This is by knows means scientific but still quite interesting. There are a few important parameters for how I use Twitter, which may explain differences from what you see. Firstly, I don't exclusively follow people in tech. I follow real world friends, football journalists, comedians, celebrities - a pretty broad spectrum of people. Here I've limited the tweets analysed to just those from people in tech. I've got to admit there were one or two where I wasn't sure so had to check their bios. Secondly, I try to follow real people, not faceless organisations. My rationale is that organisations' tweets are 99% self-promotion. If their content is good enough I'll get to hear about it via others retweeting. I'm trusting the people I follow to filter the organisational information I receive. Final point is I have a couple of words muted - "Trump" and "Brexit". This will obviously impact on the amount of political tweets I see.

So, here's a breakdown from 100 tweets on Friday 26th April, roughly 5.00 - 5.30pm UK time.

68% were tech-related
29% were not tech-related
3% I couldn't be sure about

6% I could not understand, tech or otherwise

Of the 68 tech related tweets,
48 (71%) were aiming to share something useful
(retweets, links to resources, media)

Of the 29 tweets not related to tech, subjects/themes were:
4 Gender Inequality *
2 Humorous (jokes/memes)
2 Politics **
2 Cats
1 Dog
1 Goats
1 Game of Thrones
1 Mental Health ***

* It could be argued that these are tech related if the people tweeting are in the tech industry but it wasn't mentioned explicitly. Either way 4% or 1/25 tweets is very prominent.

** This is despite my "Trump" and "Brexit" muted words.

*** Big thumbs up!

If anyone else would like to do the same exercise it would be interesting to compare and contrast results.