Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

My year on Twitter

This year is not over yet, of course, but I broke my personal record both for most retweets and for biggest potential readership of a retweet during 2012. (The figures below are assembled largely thanks to Crowdbooster, crosschecked with Twitter-on-the-web.)

My most retweeted post, picked up by 33 others with a total potential readership of 25,100, was posted just after midnight on 3 December:
Leveson on the 'clear evidence of misreporting on European issues' http://bit.ly/XfGQ9X With detailed examples of the UK media's mendacit...
This was one of my many Tweets which came from my Delicious feed via If This Then That. It's a little embarrassing that it is a) truncated and b) has almost no original content. As with so many such cases, it probably helped that it was picked up and retweeted by Jon Worth (@jonworth) at an early stage.

One other tweet beat my previous record of 20 RTs (set by my "What happened to the Doctor Who companions?" LJ post in November 2010). It was on 17 November, in the aftermath of the appalling Savita case:
Research examines the ‘abortionist saints’ of medieval Ireland http://bit.ly/XlBc7d "...the concept of abortionist saints is unique to Ir...
another truncated Delicious post which got 25 retweets and a total readership of 22,000, more than half of whom are accounted for by Charlie Stross (@cstross).

On the other axis, three of my tweets about BSFA winners from Eastercon were picked up by Cory Doctorow, who had 230,000 followers at the time (and now has 270,000). Marginally the best of the three, in that another 650 people might have seen it through two others retweeting, was this:
#eastercon #bsfaawards Best Novel goes to "The Islanders" by Chris Priest! I voted for three winners out of four.
Cory's two other RTs are here and here.

Apart from those, two other tweets beat the previous record of 36,800 possible views, which had also been set by the "What happened to the Doctor Who companions" post in 2010. They were:
#cy2012eublogs "Citizen participation is at the heart of the European Union." Discuss.
from 26 July, which ironically picked up no replies at all but was RTed by people with a combined following of 206,000 - most of these, as with the BSFA tweets, coming from a single source, Alejandro Sanchez (@AlejandroSL) of whom I know nothing; and:
World Toilet Day is today http://bit.ly/Xjukps And it's no joke.
from 19 November, which was picked up by two journalists with the Economist, one of whom (@eaterofsun, Oliver Morton) has 4,000 followers and the other (@mattbish, Matthew Bishop) 38,000.

None of these figures, either for potential readership or for total retweets, takes account of modified versions of my tweets which are then transmitted by others, so the real winning tweets may be quite different.

According to Crowdbooster, which I think is more reliable than Twitter on this one, I also broke my personal record for most reples to a single tweet in 2012, with this bad-tempered intervention during the French Presidential debate:
Sarkozy now openly racist. It's OK to give foreign vote to US and Canadian citizens, but not to Africans, especially Muslims.
Twitter itself doesn't record any replies at all, but I preserved some of them on Storify. Crowdbooster thinks that there were seven altogether.

What all this says to me is that Twitter has become much bigger for me this year as a focus of my online activity. I use Tweetdeck to read both Twitter and Facebook in a single column on my phone; and while a year or so ago, I guess I would see roughly equivalent numbers of posts to each, tweets now outnumber Facebook posts by a factor of at least five and maybe ten. It is increasingly the case that if you aren't on Twitter, you're not in the online conversation.

It has drawbacks as well. The sheer volume of information is such that one cannot read everything; I was always able to read my LJ friends feed, even back in the days when it was much bigger (and I have another post coming about that), but Twitter has too much and moves too fast. So you have to adapt to the fact that you will only be diiping in and out of the conversation as it suits you, and that you need to know how to retrieve posts that may be of interest. At least it is fairly straightforward to know when you are being addressed, quoted or otherwise invoked, and to then respond if you wish. But the lack of arhciving is a frustration (if not as bad as Facebook, and with promises that it will improve).

And if you aren't already, please do follow me at @nwbrux.
Tags: social media, twitter
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