Reflection on “Micro-blogging as Online Word of Mouth Branding”

2 07 2009

In this article, students at Penn State University used Summize, Twitter’s search engine, to evaluate word of mouth sentiment towards brands by users of Twitter. The results show:

  • More than 60 percent of the aggregate weekly sentiments for the brands were positive; just over 22 percent were negative.
  • The rest were neutral or had no sentimental value.
  • 32 percent of the time there was no change from week to week, while 64 percent of the time there was a change in sentiment or a change to no tweets.

These results show that when people talk about brands on Twitter, they are mostly positive, but most people’s sentiment changes over time.

Therefore, as noted in the article, long-term and consistent word of mouth branding on Twitter may be difficult to achieve because of its fickle culture.

The statistic I found most interesting was that “More than 80 percent of the tweets that mentioned one of these brands expressed no sentiment.” What this means to me is that Twitter is still primarily a communication platform rather than a review platform. From a consumer perspective, that probably legitimizes word of mouth recommendations on Twitter because they are in the minority. This should also let companies know that while Twitter can be a place to influence brands, it may not be the end all, be all because people are only talking about brands 20 percent of the time!

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