Two opinions on the subject that I read back-to-back had slightly conflicting viewpoints. The first made broad, sweeping arguments for using Twitter as a real-time source for information on your brand, products, and research (since this article was posted, Google and Microsoft both announced they’re indexing tweets) . The second asked whether Twitter should be ignored, though was not outright dismissing it.
We tend to agree with the latter. While very useful at times – and particularly with the right demographics – Twitter will not likely be representative of your audience, regardless of how many users they currently have. Want to know what the general public is thinking? Not always so good. Want to know what young, social media savvy males are thinking? Better.
While size of the network isn’t the only factor, to put it in a different perspective, Facebook recently noted that their FarmVille app is larger than all of Twitter. Maybe food companies can harvest research from that app (sorry for the pun).
We’ll continue to keep an eye on Twitter, and use it when appropriate, but as always, be cautious where you’re mining your insights from.
Have you used Twitter for your research? What was your experience?