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A short-term study by Pear Analytics concludes that 40.5% of messages published on Twitter are “pointless babble” — a proclamation that fervently circulated the microblogging site this week.To reap its findings, Pear Analytics snapshot Twitter every 30 minutes between 11:00 AM and 15:00 PM “for a fortnight,” according to the BBC (via?MarketingVOX).A total of 2000 messages were picked up, then terraced into six categories: spam, news, self-promotion, pointless babble, conversational and tweets with pass-along value.

The company found that only 8.7% of messages could be said to have “value,” loosely defined as news of interest.In contrast, conversational tweets, such as the kind of messages users send to each other in private instant messages, were as prevalent as the “pointless babble” — itself loosely defined as little more than personal status updates of no immediate relevance to most users. Conversational tweets composed 37.5% of messages posted. Self-promotion totaled 5.85%; spam, 3.75%.

The low figures for self-promotion were unsurprising; in a July survey by LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll, only 8% of advertisers reportedly deemed Twitter an effective promotional tool.

“With the new face of Twitter, it will be interesting to see if they take a heavier role in news, or continue to be a source for people to share their current activities that have little to do with everyone else,” said Pear founder Ryan Kelly.The company plans to repeat the study quarterly. And while interest in the findings has been high on the Twittersphere, observations from Big Mouth Media and TechCrunch suggest that the analytics group perhaps redefine the “pointless babble” bracket.

Navel-gazing status updates, such as “my new books arrived” or “Gmail is down again,” can prove useful to both users and companies that know how to extrapolate and leverage these tweets — whose power over brands stems precisely from the lack of deep thought put into publishing them.

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