A Quarter Of People On Twitter Don't Use It, But What's Its Home Page Worth, Anyway?


Dennis Miller, general partner at Spark Capital, which is a large investor in Twitter, declined to answer Media Link Chairman and CEO Michael Kassan's question "What's the home page of Twitter worth?" -- but did provide a perspective on the company and social media in this turbulent economic environment.

"You're better asking the other folks here in terms of perception," Miller said, turning toward the packed room at the OMMA Global New York conference on Monday for feedback. "Whatever it is today, it will be worth more tomorrow."

Miller called today's environment for traditional ad agencies and media "daunting," because the principal assets are 30-second spots supported with 80% local advertising. It's no secret that margins are thin, and the average CMO has only been on the job 21 months. Many don't have institutional knowledge or the relationships required to succeed.



There's tremendous pressure from clients on ad agencies to become successful in all types of social media platforms, and yet the amount of labor involved in buying effectively online is daunting, Miller said.

But as applications become interconnected, buying media could become more complicated. For example, MySpace reported Monday that it has added functions such as status updates that allow people to sync-up with Twitter. News Corp., the parent company of MySpace, says the new features are part of an ongoing effort to make it simple for people to share their status beyond MySpace and allow friends and followers to interact with content across the Web.

Miller still continues to "lean in" when analyzing investments of companies relying on an ad-supported model to generate revenue. The advertising and the media businesses are so "screwed up" right now, because there's so "much paranoia and little clarity" that it's a good time to be an arbitrage investor. That's what venture capital investors typically do -- take big risks and hope they pay off down the road.

Spark Capital has invested heavily in social media. And while Miller is "bullish that money will follow the eyeballs" in social media, it's not clear that people who Twitter will keep up the tweets.

Crowd Science will release a study Tuesday revealing that 24% of Twitter users have never tweeted or have stopped tweeting. Only 27% of Twitter users tweet daily, while 46% check updates.

Thirty-two percent of people who tweet feel they spend too much time using social media; nearly a quarter -- 22% -- say they have written things on social media that they've later regretted; and 16% report that they often neglect important activities to spend time on social media.

And while people have regrets about saying more than they should online for all to read, a quarter of those who tweet say social media is their favorite leisure activity, compared with 14% of non-Twitter social media users.

The Crowd Science study on Twitter and other social media users was conducted across more than 600,000 visitors to multiple Web sites within the Crowd Science open research network. The survey, targeting social media users age 12 and up, was conducted Aug. 5-13.

2 comments about "A Quarter Of People On Twitter Don't Use It, But What's Its Home Page Worth, Anyway?".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, September 22, 2009 at 10:04 a.m.

    This poses a question.

    Twitter and other social media are continually touted for their high consumer 'engagement' - a "must-use" medium. However, if a quarter of registered users are either 'lapsed or never tweeted', and only a quarter are daily 'tweeters' and a half are daily 'lookers' ... is that really high 'engagement'? (And remember that he majority of the population don't Twitter as they haven't registered, so the 'population percentages' are much lower for actual usage).

    In order to provide a point of comparison, I thought I'd look at some Australian data for television - a medium we keep hearing is either under siege or dying like a dinosaur. Bear in mind that repeat usage is a very good predictor of 'engagement'.

    Around three-quarters of Aussies watch television on any given day. 90%+ watch television in a week. Over 97% watch in television in a month. They also spend around 100 hours a month watching television. Now THAT sounds like engagement to me.

    Just some food for thought to provide a little balance.

  2. Chrissy Grabek, September 22, 2009 at 3:06 p.m.

    I would like to comment about this article from my personal experience.

    I signed up for Twitter last Summer as I was interning. For a long time I was pretty idle with my usage and it had nothing to do with interest but with simple not knowing what to do or how to get started.

    However, I am very active on Twitter now and I have learned how to engage others more. It just takes time to understand what's going on and then you becoming truly involved with it.

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