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Study: Microbloggers are really boring

The Helsinki Institute for Information Technology finds that people tend to update their statuses with "mundane" messages. Well, on Jaiku, anyway.

A study from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology has found that most microbloggers are updating their status with "mundane" messages.

Curiously, the Finnish institute chose to examine the also-ran microblogging platform Jaiku. In sifting through 400,000 messages on Jaiku, HIIT found that the most common messages users send out include the words "working," "home," "work," "lunch," and "sleeping."

"Microblogging works because of the total control users have over their postings, but it is a hobby that seems to require a significant investment of time which many cannot afford," the Institute said in a statement.

Jaiku is now a shadow of its former self, some two years after it was acquired by Google. According to the site's About page, it's "maintained by volunteer Google engineers on their spare time," after the Web giant decided at the start of the year that a half-dozen products including Jaiku, Dodgeball, and Google Video weren't contributing to its brand or bottom line. In March, the service was moved to Google's App Engine. The company also open sourced its code base, putting the future of the service "in developer hands."

As valuable as the Institute's finding might be to Jaiku users, Twitter is the dominating force in the microblogging space. The Institute didn't analyze tweets, making the study less applicable to the entire population of microblog users.

That said, earlier this year the Oxford University Press studied 1.5 million tweets to see which words were found most frequently on the popular service. Aside from obvious words like "the," "it," "and," and "to," the organization found that "work", one of the top words on Jaiku, is also a top term on Twitter. It was included in over 26,000 tweets the organization analyzed and was one of the most-used terms on the site. One of the least-used terms Oxford found in its study was "running." It was included in just 3,195 of the 1.5 million tweets it researched.

The study from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology will be available in an upcoming issue of the Personal and Ubiquitous Computing Journal.