Does Robert Scoble Have a Twitter Problem?

Is it normal that a single human being has posted more than 19,000 Twitter updates?
Robert, please sit down, we need to talk with you. We’re concerned. Those of us who care about you….We feel it’s time for an intervention.

No, please don’t Twitter while we speak with you – that’s exactly what we’re here to talk with you about.

We think it’s time to get past the denial, Robert. Your Twittering has gotten out of control. We’ve checked your Twitter stats and…they boggle the mind.

No, Robert, please, don’t Twitter about your intervention. Please just give your thumbs a rest….

Whether Robert Scoble needs an intervention is arguable. But either way, this A-list blogger and famously first adopter is using Twitter with a frequency that’s, well, impressive.

Check his stats at Twitterholic (that’s the actual name of the site). You’ll see he’s posted 19,108 updates (at last glance) over the last 2.3 years.

Do the math and you'll realize he averages 682 updates a month, or about 23 posts a day. If he sleeps seven hours a night, that means he tweets about once every 44 minutes. (That’s assuming Robert doesn’t tweet while he sleeps, which he might. Is there such a thing as sleep-tweeting?)

To sum it up: over the last 850 days, more than once an hour, every day of the week, all day long, he has gone to Twitter and posted a sentence of 140 characters or less.

I’d say that’s a tiny bit compulsive, wouldn’t you?

But wait, you say, surely there are other Twitterholics who’s tweet addiction rages just as hard. Well, look at the list of top Twitterers (based on numbers of followers) and you’ll see that Robert lives up where the air is thin.

The New York Times' Twitter stats indicate 29,164 posts, but that’s a feed pumped out by a full army of staffers. Guy Kawasaki has 20,091, but scientists have discovered that Guy is actually a publicity bot, some kind of recombinant mix of motivational speaker and PR-tron.

Compared with Robert, Mashable’s Pete Cashmore is a relative slacker at 14,385 and counting. Tim O’Reilly must be busy with his tech publishing empire, at 5,880. Digg founder Kevin Rose apparently has better things to do, with 2,204. And tech uber-dude Leo LaPorte is positively lethargic at 1,997. C’mon guys, sip your Red Bull and get cranking.

(By the way, Britney Spears is No. 3 on the planet in terms of Twitter followers, yet has a mere 95 updates; that’s probably because she only tweets when she’s inspired: “Went shopping in Coral Gables, bought some purses and sunglasses! – Britney”. Barack Obama has a scant 264 updates, most of which look like they were written by someone else; for the sake of the country let’s hope the president spends not a moment on Twitter.)

But back to obsessed Robert. Clearly, his more than 19,000 updates are astounding. It’s the social networking equivalent of the 4-minute mile, once thought to be humanly impossible. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.

To get a better view of the Scobleizer’s intensity, look at individual days. On March 5, he tweeted 42 times; on March 3, he generated 76 tweets; and on March 4, his mojo must have been rising: 86 tweets.

Imagine…86 updates in about 17 hours, or one post every 11 minutes, for hours and hours on end.

I mean, we all have our funny habits. A little stash of double-fudge brownies we keep nearby. A strong desire to see every last episode of Doogie Howser, M.D. But 17 hours of posting one-sentence updates every 11 minutes? That’s like some kind of conceptual art project gone overboard, in which a human being so completely immerses himself in the Internet that all boundaries cease to exist.

Or, alternately, it’s some kind of wild Vegas stage act, far surpassing Criss Angel, in which a daredevil vigorously taps his thumbs until his oxygen almost runs out. No, he’s drowning, get him away from Twitter!

Robert proves that we humans are still superior to machines, because he churns out content faster than any wimpy automated feed. Thank you Robert, now if only we could beat IBM’s Deep Blue at chess we’d be back on top. Perhaps the best description of Scoble’s energy level comes from tech pundit Paul Boutin, who dubbed him “Always-On Bobby.”

By the way, I saw the Scobleizer speak at Mediabistro Circus last spring. He’s an engaging speaker and, by all appearances, a fully sane human being. And I once had a brief phone conversation with him and again, he’s a nice guy who seems wholly in possession of his marbles.

But that fact that he’s nice, apparently sane guy means he’s all the more deserving of our help. Robert, we promise we will still pay attention to you even if you give Twitter a rest. We really do.

Robert, it’s time. The nice men in the white coats will help you out to the van. You’re going someplace very peaceful. Robert, no! Don’t make this difficult! Robert, step away from the browser….

Tags: Twitter, social networking, networking

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