Twitter, content sharing, chewed postcards and the Dresden Dolls

Web metrics analyst Hitwise reports on the rise of Twitter in the UK. It’s now the 38th most popular site in the UK with a 22-fold annual increase in traffic, etc, etc. None of which should come as much of a surprise to anyone with half an interest in digital media.

However, what for my money is more interesting is Hitwise’s analysis of Twitter’s clickstream traffic, which reveals that 55.9% of clicks out from Twitter go to content sites – blogs, social networks, news sites, etc., with only 9.5% of Twitter traffic going to e-commerce sites. (Google in the UK sends 30.7% of its traffic to e-commerce sites, while Facebook sends 14.7%).

It would seem that for the moment, that Twitter is, amongst other things, a significant content sharing service.

And this chimes with my own experience: at a very rough guess I’d say about 70% of my Tweets share content – either my own blog posts, retweets, or things I think my friends might like.

This doesn’t mean that links to content predominate on Twitter, as I’m sure you’re aware, Twitter is full of ‘Social Media experts’ and ‘SEO gurus’ pumping out direct marketing tweets with links to e-commerce sites. But that’s the beauty of Twitter – unless I follow them, they can’t market to me, and I won’t see, let alone click, on their links. (Personally speaking, I think there’s a group of about 100,000 social media experts all following one another, and sending links to one another that they don’t click on. A massive social media circle jerk in other words.)

Which is not to say that you can’t make money off Twitter. I came across this post about making money from Twitter today about the enterprising singer of American ‘dark cabaret’ act the Dresden Dolls, in which they claim to have made $20,000 on Twitter in the last month, by, amongst other things, chewing postcards and selling them to the highest bidder.

Try and explain that to your average social media expert.

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