Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have concluded that Twitter is really more of a news outlet than a social network. Here’s a somewhat user-friendly slide show they created to explain their report or you can check out this shorter, even more user-friendly article by NetworkWorld.
The researchers analyzed 41.7 million publicly available user profiles, 106 million tweets and 4,262 trending topics. Two of the key findings that back up their conclusion are:
- Only 22.1% of users follow each other, which, they point out, is much lower than other social networks like Flickr (68%) or Yahoo! 360 (84%)
- About 85% of tweets were news related
Of course, the important missing piece in this research is all the private profiles that they couldn’t access, where presumably more actual social interaction is going on. I’m not sure what the ratio of private to public Twitter profiles is (though that’d be good to know), but I suspect the vast majority are public.