Mar 25 2009

Twitter? not in my Remit

I’ve been reading survey findings (PDF) from Remit Consulting following the recent MIPIM property fair in Cannes. The findings don’t make good reading for people – like me – who hope that the construction and property sector will be quick to embrace social media. The survey done with Estates Gazette was website-hosted – which may immediately have captured a sample of people pre-disposed to use websites and happy to answer online surveys – and attracted 113 responses in 48 hours (adding to the self-selecting unrepresentative sample, this is not enough to be able to draw statistically significant conclusions). Its findings included:

  • The Estates Gazette website was the most popular source at 50% followed by the magazine at 43%
  • Blogs were the most popular “new” source at 23% with RSS (18%) just edging Twitter (15%)
  • Blogs (98% recognition) were better understood than RSS (80%) or Twitter (89%)
  • Nearly 80% used blogs “regularly” or “sometimes”; this dropped to 58% for RSS feeds and 23% for Twitter
  • Twitter attracts the biggest negative sentiment with 66% “never” using it despite 90% recognition
  • Twitter also attracted the only “null” responses

Remit admits the property industry tends to be “very traditional”, even pointing out that:

“As recently as ten years ago, we were being told that the use of websites for information was a step too far for a group of people that preferred instead to open their weekly copy of the Estates Gazette and browse through the pictures.”

Remit looked at EG‘s use of Twitter and found only “Out of the 240 or so messages twittered by EG at MIPIM… we found just five containing useful information and those were simply puffing future events”, quoting users who suggested Twitter is “of no use professionally” and has “no real role”. Remit’s final take was that:

in another ten years time we may well see blogs being the information source of choice in the industry although on this showing it looks like twittering will be for the birds.”

Sorry Remit, but blogs are already a widely used information source for many industry professionals, and the implied criticism of Twitter is wrong too.

With Twitter, you post your own updates (sometimes in response to other people’s) and you read the updates of people that you have chosen to follow. Maybe the EG people were more intent on reflecting things they saw and heard, perhaps they were providing live updates on events as they unfolded. After all, it’s about people having conversations online – not necessarily about people tweeting useful information with every update (though some corporate Twitter accounts are certainly useful for that too). I really enjoyed the MIPIM Tweets from friends Ross Sturley and Vaughan Burnand, for example – lots of insights, not always factual, and sometimes humorous with it.

I could rant on, but Steve Lawson’s recent post sums up how misguided such Twitter criticism is (read the whole of his excellent post –Twitter sucks, so change your friends – to get the full flavour):

Commenting on Twitter without having used it for at least a month is like dismissing German as a ’shit language’ after trying it for a 24 hours.

(PS: Demonstrating the value of Twitter,  I first learned about the Remit report via a Tweet from Liz Male – just shows: it’s who you choose to follow that counts!)

2 comments

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  1. The construction/property industry will be going through some serious changes in the next 5 to 10 years.

    The second phase of the Internet has definitely changed the game and will continue to do so. Twitter is just a tool, we need to remember that.

    Being in the construction industry Twitter has helped me connect and learn from folks that are fields like law, marketing, concrete, general contracting, architecture, and others.

    I’ve been able to conduct business, answer questions. The power of these tools is impressive.

    Maybe industry folks like those in construction/properties will find more use for the second phase of the Internet than they did the first.

    Time is stopping for anyone. At some point people, companies, and industry will be left behind.

    Great post!

    Vik Duggal

    • subutcher on 15 April 2009 at 11:13 am
    • Reply

    One thing that the Remit survey didn’t point out (because surveys are about either/or not both/and) is that twitter and blog is a fantastic combination.

    Blogs are about communicating opinion. Twitter is about sharing and connecting.
    A marriage made in heaven!
    Blog and tweet, tweet a blog, share a tweet about a blog, comment in a tweet or comment longer on the blog and tweet it.

    When you have to choose between perhaps you would choose blog above twitter – because twitter seems ‘trivial’ and blog seems ‘informative’. But its a false distinction.

    Yep, great post!

  1. […] gaining in Remit survey Jump to Comments Last year, in a post Twitter? not in my Remit, I talked about the findings of a Remit/Estates Gazette survey of use of social media, among other […]

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