Posted by: kenwbudd | August 11, 2009

Twitter and Facebook attacked by the DoS Bots: Who was affected?

The recent outages to Twitter and Facebook were allegedly directed at a Georgian ‘dissident’, in an attempt to censor what he was broadcasting.

The wider questions concern Twitter and the silent majority who are using the service, the ones who were hardest hit by the outage.

I hesitate to say users or people because the short answer is; that the most frequent users of Twitter are the News Streams and Info Bots. Followed rapidly by the Marketeers!

Sysmos Twitter Analysis

A couple of months ago, social media analytics firm Sysomos closely conducted an analysis of the people on Twitter and how the service was being used. What it found, among other things, was that five percent (5%) of Twitter’s 11.5 million accounts post about 75% of all the tweets. That’s an outstanding result and it led the firm to dig deeper into that magical five percent (5%).

The Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This is clearly not the case with Twitter.

Analysis Results Released
This week, the company released the results of the deeper study and highlighted a few important findings about that elite five percent:

  • 32 percent of all tweets made by that active group were generated by machine bots that posted more than 150 tweets per day.
  • The number of machine-generated tweets is probably greater because many of the bots post fewer than 150 times a day.
  • Based on the two reports, it appears that nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of all tweets overall are generated by those active bots.

Twitter Spammer Bots

However, these bots are essential Twitter spammers. These are the automated tweets that comes from valid sources, e.g. news services. Most Technical websites and Blogs will encourgae you to foolow their sites via an automated Twitter feed.

Sysmos CEO

In a blog post, Sysomos co-founder and CEO Nick Koudas said:

“It’s a fascinating exercise to really focus on the most enthusiastic Twitter users, and what they are doing. Our findings, particularly the percentage of tweets contributed by bots, is definitely eye-opening and we hope they shed light on how Twitter is used today and by whom.

We think this is one of the first reports to focus on the most active members of the Twitter community to provide interesting insight and perspective. We will continue our updates with additional analysis of the micro-blogging service.”

Note Bene

Also worth noting is that;

  • 88 percent of this active group, posts at least once a day. Of that group,
  • about one-third joined this year, compared to the
  • 72 percent of all Twitter users are new this year.

Lastly, the most popular keywords within the bios for those active users included: Internet marketing, music lover, Web designer, video games, and husband/father.


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