Digital/Online Marketing Communications Strategy

How To Get Attention By Stating The Obvious

Last week I wrote a post about a study which came to the astonishing conclusion that 40% of the content on Twitter is “pointless babble.”

The report was also picked up by numerous media outlets including Mashable, BBC, and  eMarketer.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know

The survey was conducted by Pear Analytics. Their process was to randomly sample Twitter’s public timeline for a two-week span. They put tweets into six categories that aside from “pointless babble” included  “conversational,” meaning messages that go back and forth between people or attempt to spark conversation (questions or polls), and “pass-along value,” which covers any re-tweet. Items the Pear people qualified as “news” had to come from national mainstream sources, such as CNN and Fox. News on social media and anything published on TechCrunch or Mashable did not make the cut.

There are other specifics, but suffice to say, the whole thing is highly subjective.

Image from cover of Pear Analyics August 2009 survey of Twitter usage My reason for covering this less-than-scientific research was to point out that even if there is a lot of babble on Twitter the platform offers value to businesses.

I didn’t think the actual finding was surprising. Anyone who watches Twitter’s public timeline for maybe 10-15 minutes can come to the same conclusion.

Colleagues made the same observation. Some noted that in the scheme of things most conversations, and messages received via email, are not particularly important. So why pick on Twitter?

Why pay so much attention to a report that states the obvious?

It’s All In How You Say It

For starters, consider the word choice: “pointless babble.” How great is that? It’s not insignificant content or something equally mundane. ‘Tis trash talking the twitosphere.

Naturally, this spurred tweets galore. And it made for a terrific story hook.

Next, look at how Pear conveyed the win, place and show results:

Pear graphic of survey results for Twitter usage (first place pointless babble)

What a fun punchy graphic.

It’s All Very Official

Now take a gander at another image that shows a correlation between the type of tweet and the day of the week it tends to occur:

Pear Analtics chart showing Twitter usage survey results based on time and date of week

It’s good to have graphs and charts with numbers in a report to reinforce the idea that this is real research.

The study includes additional data from other sources. These stats and diagrams make it even more official.

Meantime, Pear plugs the study on its blog, where the post format closely resembles the Mashable web site. This is crafty subliminal schtick.

Masterful Marketing

I don’t have access to Pear Analytics’ financial statements but best guess is it’s a small business enterprise. Hats off to whoever dreamed this study up  — it surely draws attention to the company.

The point about the pointless babble on Twitter states the obvious.

Slick packaging makes it newsworthy.

– Deni Kasrel

What do YOU think about getting attention by stating the obvious? Comments welcome.


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About the Author

About the Author: Deni Kasrel is seasoned (slightly spicy) specialist in digital/online communications. .


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  1. JanetA says:

    Hello Deni, you raise a very interesting question. The problem is that we live in a world where we’re so used to hearing the obvious stated that we tend to just go — oh sure. What would happen if people lifted up the rock and let all the other opinions and ideas out? I am going to try to spend the rest of the day NOT saying the obvious — obviously this will be difficult, but you have inspired this experimnt.

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