December 29th, 2011


Highlights of my Twitter year

Last year I went to the trouble of searching through my Facebook posts of the past twelve months to see which had attracted most comments. But Facebook's interface has now become so user-unfriendly that I will not waste time on that exercise.

Twitter is a different matter; there are a bunch of different metrics out there (of which my favourite, despite its imperfections, is Crowdbooster) which enable you to see which of your tweets has been picked up by the Twitterverse at large.

My most retweeted tweet ever was on 7 November 2010, a link to a Livejournal entry:
What happened to the Doctor Who companions?
It was retweeted by 20 people, and Crowdbooster (which caught only 16 of those) reckons it reached over 36,000 people (though there will of course have been some overlap).

My most frequently retweeted tweet of the last twelve months was on 5 December, as I livetweeted the International Court of Justice's ruling against Greece on the Macedonia name issue:
ICJ says that #Macedonia entitled to refer to itself as "Republic of MAcedonia" in dealings with Greece!!!!
This was picked up by 18 people, with (again according to Crowdbooster, which missed a couple of them) an outreach of over 6,000. The typo is a bit embarrassing, but there you go.

However, a single retweet by Paul Cornell, who has 16,000 followers, gave much more depth of penetration to this message on 16 August:
@Paul_Cornell I am very impressed that you put the Goodies into a #DoctorWho novel!
The most replies have I ever received to a single tweet (according to Crowdbooster anyway) came a few days later on 21 August:
D'oh! If I had realised Randall Munroe writes xkcd, I'd have voted for him and he would have been joint winner in the #hugos. #renosf
Crowdbooster claims that I got four replies to this (but I only seem to have records of three, from @niallharrison, @omegar24 and @elmyra).

I don't have any way of tracking the longest conversation I have been involved with on Twitter, and I think it would be quite difficult to compare, say, a prolonged back-and-forth with a friend which is mainly seen by the two of us, versus a broader exchange between lots of people to which I may have only contributed once or twice. No doubt there are mechanisms out there which will claim to quantify that sort of thing.

If I were more concerned about building my online profile I would now be planning all kinds of optimization strategies; but I am not!

December Books 22) Het Boek Van Alle Dingen / The Book of Everything, by Guus Kuijer

F had to do a report on this book for school, and invited me to read it too. It's quite a fascinating package, and very short at only 100 pages; Kuijer gives a very strong sense of a repressed Dutch society of the early 1950s, still coming to terms with the recent war and occupation (Thomas, the central character, is 9 so would have been born in 1942), combined with some startling magical realism as Thomas and the slightly sorcerous neighbour call down the plagues of Egypt on his wife-beating father. The line that sticks with me is from quite near the beginning (repeated again at the end) when Thomas first talks with the witch next door:
“Wat wil je later worden eigenlijk?” vroeg ze.
“Gelukkig”, zei Thomas. “Ik word later gelukkig.”

“What do you want to be when you are older?” she asked.
“Happy”, said Thomas. “I want to be happy.”
Anyway, definitely impressive enough for me to look out for more of Kuijer's work.