Image courtesy of rhythmlabonline.com
Last week, I started ‘The Grand Twitter Experiment.’ The goal of this experiment was to dive into Twitter hardcore for a week and see what happened. Well a week has passed and the results are in. Here goes:
Stats at start ( 8 / 16 / 08 ):
Stats at finish ( 8 / 23 / 08 ):
Following: 304 (+249)
Followers: 120 (+114)
I have increased the number of people I follow by 452% and generated approximately 40 updates. This effort has contributed to an increase of 650% in followers. My following/followers ratio decreased from 4.58 to 2.53. If you look at that ratio as a measure of influence in your cohort group, that means I have made my channel one of higher influence by reducing this ratio 81%.
– Recognized ‘influencers’ tend to have lower following/follower ratios
– The majority of the people that elected to follow me were people I followed
– I saw a large uptake in followers the first 2-3 days
– This correlates heavily with my initial heavy adds of people I followed
– In the later period of the experiment, follower growth was more linear
– Frequency of messaging did not seem to affect follower growth heavily
– Most of my non-geek friends are not on Twitter (seems SF/NYC-centric)
– It is much easier to communicate one-to-many then to one-to-one
Notes & Misc.
– Increase the people you follow and you WILL get followers
– Frequency of posts does not necessarily increase followers
– There are a bagillion apps that use the Twitter API
– Twitterberry is a great mobile client for Blackberry users
– Twitterfeed is a cool way to hook your blog to Twitter
– Twitter for FB is interesting, but I did not find it particularly useful
– Twittercard is a cool widget to let your blog readers now ‘what’s up’
– Summize rocks as a search utility for Twitter
– Rate of meme spread via Twitter
– Implications and impact of Following/Follower ratio
– Efficacy of Twitter vs. FB Newsfeed as promotion tool
– Efficacy of Twitter vs. Friendfeed as promotion tool
If you think about this channel relative to blogging, it is pretty neat. For those of you that blog, you know it is difficult to get 120 people to subscribe in a week to a new blog. Although it is a bit different to subscribe to a blog vs. follow someone on Twitter, the point is clear – Twitter can be a powerful channel.
One of the big uses I found of the tool was the ability to ‘follow’ others. Like Facebook’s newsfeed, Twitter is a great way to keep up with things people in your life are doing. That being said, I think that they face some stiff competition from FriendFeed. I still contend that FriendFeed can reach a broader audience by default. Unlike Twitter, FriendFeed is much easier for ‘passive’ users to contribute, or share. By simply conducting my digital life, I leave a trail of news stories for people to follow. To me, that is extremely powerful and could be disruptive to both Twitter and Facebook if they streamline for a more mass audience.
The feed is extremely noisy. The highest frequency users take most of your page and, rarely, does one scroll through multiple pages. Twitter seems to be optimized for one-to-many communication – for directed communication, there are clearly better tools. Facebook, IM and – of course – email, are all way better experiences IMHO.
At the end of the day, I enjoyed the service and will continue to play with it. It’s fun. But that is exactly the thing the Twitter team needs to overcome. Twitter is fun, not necessary – yet. Twitter has a hopeful future though. They are doing amazing work, getting massive growth in the audiences they serve, and have built a great brand.
Thanks to all the folks that participated in my journey and were kind enough to tweet, im, email, fb, and even call me as I conducted my little experiment. See you in the Twittersphere.