This chart from the Wikipedia article was very educational. Pointless babble is obviously not where I'd want to go. Spam not either. The rest of the categories can, according to Jeff Vandermeer writing in Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer , be bent to the conversation of writers with their readers, as well as being good for networking and promotion. He also mentions some twitterers use the platform for creative output, the direction I was leaning into, and others mainly for networking.
The second major use seems to require real time twittering, on-going conversing, which I would find difficult to maintain, due to the way being online cuts into writing time. Usually I give myself a couple of hours a day online, in the afternoon, after I've done a swag of words. And part of that time is answering emails, and updating this and the mullumyard blogs.
San Antonio-based market-research firm Pear Analytics analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the US and in English) over a two-week period in August 2009 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM (CST) and separated them into six categories:
- Pointless babble – 40%
- Conversational – 38%
- Pass-along value – 9%
- Self-promotion – 6%
- Spam – 4%
- News – 4%
Social networking researcher Danah Boyd responded to the Pear Analytics survey by arguing that what the Pear researchers labelled "pointless babble" is better characterized as "social grooming" and/or "peripheral awareness" (which she explains as persons "want[ing] to know what the people around them are thinking and doing and feeling, even when co-presence isn’t viable").