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Twitter Providing Insights? Draw Your Own Conclusions

08 July 2009  |  2869 views  |  1

Twitter is on a few people's minds at the moment, and although it has tremendous potential as a communication tool and is still in it's primitive stages- twitter has provided some unusual insights into human activity. Some analysis of twitter following habits seem to show:

'Although men and women follow a similar number of Twitter users, men have 15% more followers than women. Men also have more reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other. This "follower split" suggests that women are driven less by followers than men, or have more stringent thresholds for reciprocating relationships. This is intriguing, especially given that females hold a slight majority on Twitter: we found that men comprise 45% of Twitter users, while women represent 55%. To get this figure, we cross-referenced users' "real names" against a database of 40,000 strongly gendered names.' (from Bill Heil,  a graduating MBA student at Harvard Business School).

'Even more interesting is who follows whom. We found that an average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman. Similarly, an average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than a woman. Finally, an average man is 40% more likely to be followed by another man than by a woman. These results cannot be explained by different tweeting activity - both men and women tweet at the same rate.'

It's also different than the usual social network site where more men follow women and women follow content created by women more than that of men.

Another amusing look at twitter is Tom Z Zeng's site tweet sentiments.

Twitter is an interesting platform and will undoubtably provide financial institutions with their greatest challenges. In more than superficial ways.

The U.S. leads the tweeting race accounting for 53% of users, The UK is approaching 7%, closely followed by Brazil with Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, and Iran with just 1.73% slightly ahead of India and Indonesia. The recent US and Iranian elections showed a serious side to social networking. The numbers have been increasing steadily to critical mass and should now climb rapidly. I predict 300 million users within 2 years, possibly many more, especially as it becomes more useful to more people.

The potential uses are far beyond the less than sublime daily routines described by some and twitter is capable of alleviating some of the more boring tasks we do, like banking perhaps...


TagsPaymentsRetail banking

Comments: (2)

Aldon Hynes
Aldon Hynes - Toomre Capital Markets - Woodbridge CT | 08 July, 2009, 13:34

I'm not sure that looking at the demographics of Twitter usage is all that helpful in understanding the potential for its use in the financial services markets.  It would be curioius to see a similar analysis for electronic trading platforms.

I do believe that Twitter raises lots of interesting issues in the financial services area.  For example, I suspect that twitter messages from traders should be archived for compliance reasons.

There is also valuable information about companies on Twitter.  Various complex event processing systems are starting to tap into Twitter and Twitter users often prepend a dollar sign to a ticker symbol to make it easier to find information about the ticker on Twitter.  

I've been on Twitter since 2006 and have often talked about its importance in real time information delivery.  Follow me on Twitter at @ahynes1 for more info.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 09 July, 2009, 00:29

Hi Aldon, thanks for the comment.

Twitter is still all a bit of fun for some, although about 50% of marketers are, as you know, taking it seriously. I'd love to tell everyone exactly how I see twitter and other emerging forms of communications being incorporated into financial services, but I think a real world demonstration will be more effective.

There are a number of seminars on twitter, basically all of the big agencies have doen twitter workshops although most of them miss the point and focus on the obvious use as a research tool.

PR practitioners can use a widget to embed a search on their product name in twitter as a live brand monitoring tool. While the twitter numbers are still small, social networking is

1. a communication channel to your existing customers.

2. a feedback channel from your customers.

3. an opportunity to have your customers promote your service.

4. an opportunity to get new customers.

Twitter represents a low cost medium for getting your message out and reacting to issues.  Such services will become popular and let's face it, what other communication channel is open to banks?

I don't open emails from my banks, or the plethora of other 'banks' which regularly email me. So much for the Anti-Phishing Working Group, but just imagine how many more spams there might be without them?

I won't discuss my banking or personal details on the phone with 'my bank' when they call me, I am not sure it's them. With so many of them using ip telephony to route callers to foreign call centres it's only a matter of time before a major incident occurs.

Can I even trust a letter in the mail from my bank? Plenty of people know where to send the letter. Should I trust that?

I suppose the article is more about the need for banks to service/pursue customers through whatever communication channel is open to them, while they still can. TV is still tops, but I can see vast room for improvement with that one-way interface.

Security is an issue that some have solved, and archiving is essential for any financial services type of message, probably even stock recommendations, but that is a simple issue. If you'd like to have customers tweet their stock orders...

The gender thing suggests that a financial institution should use a woman on facebook and a man on twitter to maximise the effectiveness of their communications. Conveniently something I'd already decided upon and set up.

Best regards


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