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NOTE: This is a follow up to my previous “ Twitter Usage Study“. Please Tweet This!
I want to start by saying that I am NOT a Twitter Expert. I think it is pretty early to give clear definition to what a “Twitter expert” really is. There are some Twitter users whom I would consider highly effective at propagating a message, but even many of the best will disclaim that extremely overused claim to being an expert. The fact is that those who are good at Twitter are good at people.
My Twitter Experience
This is a summary of my past ten days as a Twitter newbie. I have learned a lot in this time, and I found interesting results of my Twitter study. First, I will start with what matters, and then get to the numbers.
I used Twitter for three other projects I worked on in 2008, but I did not make a big effort to optimize my use. Only when I recently embraced Twitter as the vital social networking tool it represents, did I see the big picture. In this short time, I have made many observations and met a few people who really influenced me.
Twitter Study: The People Matters
I explained the importance of social networking relationships in my recent article “Three Kids Prove Social Networking Works“. The article tells how I met close friends online over a decade ago, including my closest friend and wife, Peggy in 2000. Nobody can tell me that the relationships are just a side-effect … they are what counts.
Each day I use Twitter, I notice that there are a few people I look forward to reading about and having a quick chat with. I will just name a few, but there are many more whom I enjoy and respect. If you follow my tweets, or look at my favorites you can start to see the people I respect and visit with the most. Some of the outstanding people I have had the privilege to chat with one-on-one and grow my respect for are as follows:
Jim Connolly (@jimconnolly): I have gained a lot of respect for Jim, and I suggest everybody read his brilliantly authored “Top 10 Tips” and his story “Twitter and me” about deleting his group of over 20,000 followers to do things right the second time. Many people would consider Jim a Twitter expert.
Reg Saddler (@zaibatsu): Reg called me just after midnight and we talked for over two hours. I wrote about it in my article “Social Networking: A Call from Reg Saddler (zaibatsu)“. I have learned a lot from Reg, and he is a top-notch Twitter user with over 34,000 followers.
Jimmy Vee (@5ftHighMktgGuy): Jimmy has a certain familiar swagger that I respect. After reading about his business, “Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers“, watching his video, and reciprocal tweeting, I have come to like his style.
Joe Scanlon (@littlequiz): Joe is an Irish Blog Awards finalist, and I am excited for him at this recent achievement! Joe is a delight to visit with during the very late night or early morning hours (my time). He “gets it”!
Mari Smith (@marismith): Mari is a delight, and a very insightful lady. She is a joy in every communication. The author of “Why Facebook?: Social Networking for Fun and Profits!“, Mari understands that the people come first, and has many valuable lessons to share.
I would recommend following each of these people and learn from them, just as I have. They are each fine examples of the real people you can meet with Twitter.
I was on the telephone with a friend who asked me for a one sentence description of Twitter. I tweeted his question for others to address and then answered him ”It is a great way to meet interesting people and gather useful information”. I very quickly received an answer back on Twitter that was almost identical to mine. This is the mindset that will work best, and people can identify with.
If you are using Twitter for the wrong reasons, you may find yourself very frustrated. It is fine to join the community and align yourself with others where there is a potential mutual benefit. However, it is best to leave self-interest at the door and focus on being friendly and helpful. If your motivation is wrong, you may find this impossible.
Like every social media, there will be those who do the cyber equivalent of walking into a party and try to hand everybody their business card. People don’t have time or patience for that on Twitter … or the Internet for that matter. If you think that millions of people will congregate online with the purpose of being hit up with your pitch, you may do well to get a job at a carnival. People do not enjoy being sold at. Twitter is a conversation and not your personal billboard or bull horn.
I have noticed that there is an abundance of people trying to sell their services and products, while there are relatively few who are actually achieving it abundantly. What the Twitter achievers know is that the people are what matter, as I explained above.
What Gets Under Our Skin? My Observations:
- Auto DM - Many people abhor the automated direct message they get when they begin to follow you. If they thought you were interesting, a lot of that goes out the window when they get a message like I received. It read as follows: “blah blah blah … buy my stuff and visit my website”. OK, that is not verbatim, but that is as close as I remembered it. No, I didn’t visit your “Magnificent Wonder-Widget” Website. I want to learn about you in time … don’t cram it down my throat like the guy at the carwash trying to sell me the extra greasy crap for the tires.
- Link Guesswork - If others are to trust your taste and click on the link you sent, it had better not be misrepresented. When you provide a link, it is respectful to others and will be much better received if you give an accurate and concise description of what to expect.
- Same Old Stuff - If we look at your profile and see that it shows a history of the same old thing just repeated in different ways, you strike out. You are a person, so behave that way. We are not looking for a machine to hand out lines of drivol … we want to know you. Show your personality! We may not all like you, but some of us surely will.
Twitter Study Statistics
I said I would share this with you, so here are some of the numbers. As it says in my initial “Twitter Usage Study“, I started the study with a relatively unused Twitter account (@murnahan) that had only 78 followers. Here are the present numbers at publish of this article:
- 783 Followers
- 97.4 Percentile Re-tweet
- 100+ Cities (first 2 days)
- 19 Native Languages
- 482 Unique Referrals from Twitter.com to awebguy.com/ptt
- 33 Countries
- 1. United States
- 2. United Kingdom
- 3. Canada
- 4. India
- 5. Germany
- 6. Australia
- 7. Austria
- 8. United Arab Emirates
- 9. New Zealand
- 10. Switzerland
- 11. France
- 12. Denmark
- 13. Belgium
- 14. Sweden
- 15. Pakistan
- 16. South Africa
- 17. Russia
- 18. Costa Rica
- 19. Philippines
- 20. Netherlands
- 21. Turkey
- 22. Indonesia
- 23. Mexico
- 24. Brazil
- 25. Hong Kong
- 26. Ukraine
- 27. Rwanda
- 28. Taiwan
- 29. Italy
- 30. Slovenia
- 31. Spain
- 32. Malaysia
- 33. Montenegro
In the past ten days, the followers multiplied by ten. As I write this, I have 783 followers. You may see a chart of growth at twittercounter.com/murnahan. I also now show a 97.4 percentile re-tweet rate according to retweetrank.com/murnahan.
I launched the study on Saturday 7 February, and I knew it would perform weak for a couple days. The study ultimately did not have an overwhelming re-tweet rate, and now I know why, but it was picked up by some of the Twitter elite and sent to their followers. I believe the reason it did not travel as much as hoped is because Twitter users are absolutely sick to death of somebody trying to sell them on a new way to “be successful on Twitter”. I suspect that the description may have been viewed that way in tweets, but it simply is not the case. The hashtag #PTT made it around the world reasonably well, but it did not drive overwhelming Web traffic (under 500 referred from the passing of the tweet). This does not mean it was not heard, it just means that a lot of the message stayed within the confines of Twitter.
In the proper spirit of Twittering, I provide this to you in hopes that you find it interesting and useful. I would also like to offer these links that I found profoundly interesting. Please Tweet!
From Brooks Bayne: “The Newest Way To Game Twitter - Fake Followers” (tweet it!)
From Pete Cashmore: “The Science of ReTweets” (tweet it!)
Don't Stop Now ... There's More!
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