Business opinion of Twitter by the numbers


A poll last month by business network LinkedIn reveals some useful and fascinating opinions by nearly 4,000 business people about Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Digg and the iPhone.

In summary, the survey results show that a clear majority (30%) of those who answered the poll believe that mastering Twitter is important.

Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb has done a terrific job in summarizing each element of the LinkedIn survey according to the tabs you see in the screenshot.

Neither the LinkedIn poll results nor Marshall’s post go into any detail as to what “mastering Twitter” might mean, though.

To me, it would mean things like understanding what Twitter is, a broad sense of who’s using it from a business perspective and, equally important, why they are using Twitter.

I’d follow that with understanding the value of Twitter as a tool to listen to conversations as well as engaging with others. You need to try it to understand it including any mistakes.

Any other items to go under the “mastering Twitter” label? (And not to nitpick: brands can’t master Twitter, but people can.)

In any event, here’s my further concise summary of some of the key points from the survey highlighted by Marshall:

  • Twitter is #1, leading Facebook by a respectable margin
  • There is no consensus: every platform named (except for Digg) has a group of backers that believes it is most important.
  • Most appreciative of Twitter: Business owners, C-Level or VPs. People at large- or medium-sized companies. People doing business development, marketing or creative work.
  • Least appreciative of Twitter: Non-managers. People at very large or small businesses. Consultants, Salespeople and Engineers.
  • Most appreciative of LinkedIn: C-level and non-managers. At small- or medium-sized businesses. Doing consulting or sales.
  • Least appreciative of LinkedIn: Owners and managers. At large or enterprise companies. In creative or marketing departments.
  • Large businesses are most likely to favour Twitter
  • Medium and small businesses are twice as likely to favour LinkedIn
  • Marketing, business development and creatives are most likely to favour Twitter
  • Women are much more likely to prefer Twitter
  • Men are more likely to favour LinkedIn, iPhone

Read the full story at ReadWriteWeb.

Take a look, too, at some other metrics about Twitter that have appeared in the past few days:

  • New Twitter Research: Men Follow Men and Nobody Tweets – a report in the Harvard Business Review offers some answers to the question on whether Twitter is a communications service for friends and groups, a means of expressing yourself freely, or simply a marketing tool by examining the activity of a random sample of 300,000 Twitter users in May 2009 to find out how people are using it.
  • What Brands Want From A Twitter Client – Forrester Research analyst Jeremiah Owyang asks his Twitter community for opinion on third-party apps they use to interact with Twitter, covering listening, management, workflow, integration, conversing, and reporting.
  • What is the Future of Twitter? Only You Know – Steve Rubel uses a mind map to plot where Twitter might go, based on dialog and feedback from participants to his presentation session at a conference in San Francisco.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Patrick Allmond

    Are you kidding me? Twitter is least useful out of all of these – And I have taught several classes about social media at a local school. Right now it is just the cool shiny thing. But out of all of the social networking sites it takes up the most time and communicates the least amount of information. However it is a great and open platform for spamming. The spam on on twitter flows faster than on email:

  2. neville

    Can’t see how you’re right with this, Patrick:

    …Twitter is least useful out of all of these – And I have taught several classes about social media at a local school. Right now it is just the cool shiny thing.

    Just the cool shiny thing? Tell that to these 40 companies who don’t see it that way at all. On the contrary, they have credible accounts of the value to them of engaging with people via Twitter.

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