Twitter is the only communication form that doesn’t require systematic processing of messages. Most of us respond to email, SMS, voice mail and phone calls with dogmatic diligence. In the Twitter stream, users are panning for gold, balancing signal and noise in a much more equal quantities than voicemail. Missing a few thousand tweets doesn’t really matter.
(1) This is why Twitter is great for casual content discovery but not for tracking must-know information. Low signal-to-noise ratio (“panning for gold”) = low level of information importance.
(2) If you’re in the business of providing must-know information, you should obsess about the signal-to-noise ratio of your product. Your users will give you their “dogmatic diligence”, and noise inside their stream of must-know information will deeply frustrate them.
(3) This is why we care deeply about our signal-to-noise ratio at Seeking Alpha. News and analysis that move the prices of the stocks you track is must-know information. We push this information to over 2 million investors and business people via email alerts and app notifications, channels which are used with “dogmatic diligence”. So we owe our users an extraordinarily high signal-to-noise ratio.