Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

There’s a One in 200 Chance You’re Tweeting From Inside Justin Bieber

From the “awesome to know, now what?” file: Something like one out of every 200 Twitter users claims to be filing their dispatches from Justin Bieber.

Or at least somewhere very close to the teen idol: Some Twitter users report that they are located “in Justin Biebers heart” or “Bieberacademy” or “Bieberville, California.” That comes from a new study from the august Palo Alto Research Center, which had an intern comb through the “Location” fields on 10,000 Twitter user profiles.

The PARC report says that 66 percent of users filled in the field with “valid” information. Another 18 percent left it blank altogether, and 16 percent used it to make a joke and/or an expression of their Bieberlove.

But even that 66 percent number is a bit misleading, since “valid” is a very vague term. Check out this great deadpan:

This includes those who merely entered their continent and, more commonly, those who entered geographic information in highly vernacular forms. For example, one user wrote that s/he is from “kcmo–call da po po”. Our coders were able to determine this user meant “Kansas City, Missouri”, and thus this entry was rated as valid geographic information (indicating a location at a city scale).

Big picture: The PARC report explains convincingly that you shouldn’t take the self-reported geographic information in Twitter profiles at face value. And, I’d argue, that extends to the rest of the information as well. On the other hand, if you’re an advertiser trying to find a lot of Justin Bieber fans, this stuff may be very, very useful.

(Thanks to YouTube’s Hunter Walk for the tip. Via Twitter, of course.)