Twitter and psychology: 90% of irrelevant information but ...

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Robert Maurer

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Social networks ... so much fabric to cut out, so much to say, so much to share and so many positive things to use them for but ... we all know that between saying and doing there is the sea and that the world is not built with good intentions only. Thus, like all things, social networks turn into a double-edged sword. A recent study related to Twitter, created by SemanticHacker, a site belonging to a semantic analysis software company on the network, was dedicated to analyzing about 9 million tweets corresponding to approximately two million users. To go into the matter, we can say that 61% of Twitter users in the world are native English speakers, which is not at all strange given that this platform was born in the USA. 4% of twitters speak Spanish; the fourth most widespread language on Twitter in the world which is surpassed only by Portuguese and Japanese. But let's go to the most interesting results. This study classified the different tweets according to their content. You can check the statistic in the photo below: At first glance it can be understood that Twitter behaves more like a communication tool than a network of interests: 57% of tweets refer to people's actions or private conversations (replies that include @). 43% of tweets have different purposes (mostly, they are spam or ads). In short, the information that has some value for the community represents only 10-27%. What do these results imply? At first glance we could launch without thinking into a crusade against Twitter and its uselessness but… During the 70s of the last century the sociologist Mark Granovetter carried out a series of studies on interpersonal relationships, support and human connections. From this study, Granovetter concluded that in the really decisive moments, the results obtained on a social level do not depend so much on strong ties with family or friends but rather on the weak ties established with newly met individuals with whom we have had sporadic contact. This phenomenon was called: strength of weak constraints. This strength is the one on which the ease in finding a job or reaching a certain social status sometimes depends. Precisely, the strength of these constraints is well known by many marketers of the most diverse companies who are currently opting to advertise on TwitterBut well beyond this annoying meddling, it is certain that many organizations are using the information they get in Twitter to determine trends, needs, motivations of users ... There is also no lack of those who have found work through Twitter and perhaps for this very reason some experts assure that Twitter, in perspective, it will not only be the largest network of contacts in the world but also the future search engine that will surpass Google itself. Because? Simply why Twitter it offers the immediacy of the most personalized contact but at the same time the only 140 characters that allows us to write require us to concentrate our essence: good or bad, intelligent or poor. There are examples of pages created specifically to offer jobs in the Hispanic-speaking world such as Tweetempleo where you will find a fairly large representation of Spanish-speaking companies. Then there is a page, always aimed at the Spanish market, which offers advice on how to find work and also offers assistance: Yo Oriento. Why is it easier to relate and find work through the network? Simply because many of the social barriers in the web are missing: we enter a blog and without asking ourselves what qualifications or professional training its author had, we read the content; if we like it then we go back again. It is a more essential, direct relationship; in which we value the quality of the content by analyzing the results and we do not allow ourselves to be influenced by stereotypes or social norms. In the same way, through the short tweets we can form an idea about the personality of the writer; we don't care about his physical appearance, how he behaves or how he is dressed, we value only his essence if and when it corresponds to our preferences and what we are looking for. Of course, the lack of physical contact brings with it its difficulties, people can lie and it is more difficult to identify these falsehoods, but these are the daily risks that we take even in our most traditional interpersonal relationships. To sum up, we could say that although in Twitter we can find a lot of totally irrelevant information, at least for my interests and my motivations, this also represents a functional means of communication that could bring us many advantages, allowing us to establish these weak bonds, and others that are not even so weak. Finally, all technology has its pros and cons, everything always depends on the use made of it.
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