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71% Of Twitter Messages Ignored

 6:03 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

[wired.com ]

[sysomos.com ]

Ever feel like you’re talking to a brick wall on Twitter? That might be because 71 percent of tweets get absolutely no response from the world.



 7:48 pm on Oct 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

And 29% are not. That's heading for one third of messages have some sort of penetration.


 8:06 pm on Oct 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I saw that study and I thought the word "ignored" was a sensationalist choice. What the study really showed was just "did not retweet or reply". That's a major, major difference.


 8:28 pm on Oct 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I love how Wired turned it around. The Sysomos phrasing was "29% of Tweets Generate a Reaction," a much more neutral statement.


 6:32 pm on Oct 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Doesn't surprise me, it's normal users pick out only the ones that are interesting to them. According to the numbers 71% of the time people aren't doing anything interesting. Sounds about right.

Robert Charlton

 9:58 pm on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm surprised that 29% get some attention. The nature of the messages, the quality of attention, and the point of it all, of course, are additional considerations.

Also, in many cases where Twitter can be very useful... as in sending out and receiving announcements... utility has nothing to do with actions of response.

I'd say that the twitter spectrum is so broad and fragmented that these stats by themselves don't mean much. The (overall) Retweet Time Span Histogram looks like retweets are almost reflexive (automated?) in a great many areas, with an exponential decay. But, in more focused areas, that may not be the case at all.

Only 1.53% of Twitter conversations are three levels deep - after the original tweet, there is a reply, reply to the reply, and reply to the reply of reply.

...only a small number of users actually have the ability to engage on Twitter in a significant way.

From my personal perspective... and I can see a great many uses for the platform... one of the great problems I have, at least in my limited efforts to play with it deeply, is it implicitly assumes a continuing presence.

"Conversations" extended over time become hard to follow. If there's a threading capability for general back and forth messages, I've missed it. So, the platform itself demands a kind of daily addiction, if not more frequent than that. While the platform may generate momentum, it also may require it. This, from a semi-outside perspective, feels like a limitation.


 11:09 pm on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well said, Robert. The only effective way to follow a full Twitter threaded conversation I've found is with one of the apps that have sprung up to do just that.

In fact, it is really the apps that are building the Twitter ecosphere, more than Twitter itself. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

[edited by: tedster at 1:39 am (utc) on Oct 18, 2010]


 12:26 am on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

it is possible to follow a thread on the web interface by clicking the "in reply to..." link when it is displayed below the tweet.
as mentioned by ted, many apps provide threading capability.
for example, the Swift and Twidroyd apps i use on the droid provide a "Show/View Conversation" capability when viewing a single tweet if that tweet is part of a thread.
however they will only thread backwards - they don't look forward to subsequent tweets in the conversation.
Seesmic will let you step back through the thread one tweet at a time, similar to the web interface.

in both cases (web & app), threading depends on the user properly providing the threading linkage by using the "Reply" function rather than submitting an unthreaded tweet with the mention.

there are two mechanisms that can help the "continuing presence" issue and improve your engagement.
one is to use your mobile settings in twitter to get DMs and updates from selected users sent via text messaging.
the other option is to use a twitter client such as Seesmic that provides alerts whenever you are DMed or mentioned.


 5:15 am on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just some passing facts/thoughts:

- Okay, so Sysomos examined 1.2 billion tweets posted in the last two months.

- 6% of those were retweeted, and 92% of the retweets happened in the first hour after the initial tweet.

- 23% of those 1.2 billion tweets received a reply and 85% of those tweets had only one sole reply.

I am somewhat surprised at the stats in the study, as I expected to see more user engagement. Makes me think that the study should have included stats on clickthroughs to URL's that are tweeted. Nonetheless, the stats were way off from what I expected to see...

Robert Charlton

 6:58 am on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for various feedback on threading. I'll have to check into Seesmic, etc.

...the study should have included stats on clickthroughs to URL's that are tweeted.

Yes, one of the omissions. But Twitter is such that not all tweets include urls. Many tweets, I'm supposing, are simply announcements. Are there any publicly available stats on the types of messages sent and the uses made of Twitter, or are these reports we're discussing the state of the art so far?


 6:37 am on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

But Twitter is such that not all tweets include urls. Many tweets, I'm supposing, are simply announcements.

Agreed, and from my experience, person to person/personal tweets rarely seem to include links, and if they do, it's a link to something humorous or a popular news item. At the same time, though, on the "business" side of things, almost all of the sites in my realm that are using Twitter are simply linking to the latest post/article on their site and not interacting with visitors.

It would be great to see Twitter offer up some concrete data on many topics as most of the reports seem to be coming up short.


 6:42 am on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is there a metric published that of the 70ish twits only 1% have value?

Stated after two months on twit... what a tw?t!

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