Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Twitter: Oversharing or Just Enough Sharing?

I ran another TwtPoll Tuesday, here are the question & results:

Question: Twitter has been called part of a new "culture of oversharing."  Which answer best reflects your opinion?
  • I don't really care about the details of most people's private lives. That's not why I'm on Twitter. 25% (24 votes)

  • I'm curious about what is going on with my friends but not strangers. 9% (9 votes)

  • The daily lives of celebrities are kind of fascinating to me. 0% (0 votes)

  • I find the details of people's lives which they choose to share to be the most interesting part of Twitter. 31% (29 votes)

  • Not only do I not mind other people sharing details of their lives, I like to "overshare," too. 18% (17 votes)

  • I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "overshare." 3% (3 votes)

  • Other (send your opinion to @nwjerseyliz) 14% (13 votes)
There are some very interesting observations you can make about these results:
  1. The most obvious result to note is that there is a clear lack of consensus on the appropriateness of private information posted on a online public network. This might be frustrating for those 25% of people who answered that they use Twitter primarily for business or information but it's in keeping with the vision of Twitter's creators that Twitter be a tool for whatever people want to use it for (like email, I was told).

  2. Except for the 25% who would rather not hear about the details of people's daily lives, most people were comfortable with the personal sharing nature of Twitter whether they preferred to read about the lives of their friends, people in general or not only other people but sharing of themselves as well.

  3. There was NO ONE who responded that they really prefer to read the inside scoop on the daily lives of celebrities. This probably says more about the tastes of people who follow me & those who ReTweeted the blog link than about the general Twitterverse. I still think there is a strong element of celebrity voyeurism especially among new users to Twitter.

  4. There was some confusion about the word "overshare", whether it meant sharing too much personal information (intimate information) or sharing too frequently (quantity). I meant it to mean the former.

  5. There was a substantial number of "Other" answers and I received quite a few personal replies explaining people's point of view. The comments were so diverse, it is impossible to generalize about them except that they also reflect the fact that opinion on this issue vary quite a bit. The main issue in question is how much to share (level of sharing) & who to share it with (personal network). This can be easily adjusted by unfollowing people who share too little or too much.

  6. Several people objected to the term "overshare". I chose this term because  I've heard it used by Social Media Analysts. Those who disliked it, accurately noticed that it is inherently negative as "over" implies "too much". Typically in polls or surveys you aim for either neutral language or equally strong language for all options (my choice).
There were 95 votes, a bit short of my goal of 100 votes but I'm happy because a lot of the votes came in long after I first posted the link on Twitter (9 am EST US). Thanks for everyone who either voted, ReTweeted the link and/or commented on the poll.


Billy Blade said...

After a month on twitter I have started to find the site boring.
Just not interested in the partial and incomplete comments of users.

What use is this to me? I would
rather read the news sites.

redstllindsey said...

I actually DO like following several celebrities (the ones who aren't completely narcissistic, anyway), but that isn't my main purpose. It was hard having to choose only one response.


Liz said...

@BillyBlade, I always say that your experience on Twitter is basically determined by the people you choose to follow. There are plenty of fascinating people out there, I'd look for different people to follow. Do searches for keywords of interest or go to http// and search people's bios.

@redsllindsey, I prefer open-ended questions where you provide the answer that best represents your view but I find more people respond if they can just check off a box. I tried to make the answers distinct but realize that probably you could have chosen several different responses. I was pressing you to select the most important to you.