Archives: October 2012
Shortly after the third presidential debate, the secret service made a not-so-secret announcement to the world that it was looking very closely at any suspicious activity or threatening messages sent on Twitter. And they want your help.
In April of last year I performed a little experiment using my Twitter profile to get a rough idea of how many people actually read and, more specifically, reacted to my tweets. Going into the test I had a working theory that approximately one percent of my audience saw my tweets at any given time. That might sound low, but it was a number I’d been touting to clients for a while, largely to keep their expectations realistic. I needed to see if there was any meat around those bones.
Turns out I overestimated – the test results came back at less than half that, with a rating of 0.46 percent. And it wasn’t just me, or the things that I said – it turns out your Twitter engagement levels get exponentially worse as your followers grow. For example, at the time, links shared by the @Mashable Twitter profile, with its millions of followers, had a click-through rate (CTR) of just 0.11 percent.
So, I was forced to ask: is Twitter just a big waste of time?
One of the golden currencies of Twitter is the retweet. When someone retweets you, they’re telling their followers that you’ve got something interesting to say. But getting retweeted isn’t an easy task – you’ve got to offer something new and interesting to your followers, which can be difficult to do consistently. If you’re having some trouble in this area, we’ve got five types of tweets that will get you retweeted, so you can start impressing the Twitterverse with your insight.
The obsession with how many followers one does (or does not have) has died down a little bit since the early days of Twitter. Indeed, co-founder Evan Williams recently said that, in his opinion, followers was not Twitter’s dream metric – rather, it was how many people saw your tweet.
Still, across Twitter more than 1,000 users now have more than one million followers, and certainly when you’re new to the network these weighty tallies can be both glittering lures and constant reminders that, try as you might, you’ll probably never reach such heights.
Shea wrote a fantastic piece about the five stages of “getting” Twitter last week, which included denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. But for some of us, there’s another stage that hits us after we’ve accepted and finally “got” Twitter – obsession.
Twitter is like a drug, in many ways: it gives your brain a short-term thrill that you look for over, and over again. It alters your behavior as you seek the pleasure hits a retweet gives you. And it sometimes negatively impacts other areas of your life.
Without help, you might become a total Twitter addict – believe me, I’ve seen it happen.