You may find this a useful post, or you may find it to be an excellent reminder of why thinking about, much less stressing out over, social media is an incredible waste of your time. We’ll see.
Twitter has recently sort of upgraded its Analytics page. They did it in a sort of annoying way, giving us a lot more granular data on how individual Tweets do, but removing the only feature I actually used Analytics for, which was to track day-by-day follows and unfollows. They still haven’t put that back, which sorta pisses me off.
(Also: immaturity moment, because I need one: hurr durr he said anal. That is all.)
Anyway. I have, at this exact second, 1143 followers on the Twittermachine. One of the things that the new Analytics page keeps track of is impressions for each Tweet. An impression means that at some point your Tweet scrolled across the screen of somebody who was looking at Twitter. It doesn’t mean that they read it, or clicked, or really did anything at all– it literally just means that it is at least theoretically possible that someone saw it.
With 1143 followers, after five or six hours most of my Tweets reliably have in between 60 and 80 impressions, assuming that they haven’t been retweeted by someone. This means that about six percent of my followers are going to see any given Tweet. (Unknown: whether someone seeing a Tweet multiple times counts more than once. I’m assuming that it does not.)
That is not very many. You can increase the number of people who are going to see a Tweet with hashtags, which means that anyone who searches for that hashtag in the, oh, five minutes or so after you send it will see it, maybe. In general, until yesterday, adding a hashtag or two would generally add thirty or forty impressions to a Tweet, and also seems to slightly elevate the chance that a Tweet will be favorited or retweeted.
This will seem like a change of subject; it’s not. Bear with me. I posited the following in the comments of my post about Curious George the other day:
Siler’s Law: as any discussion of children’s programming continues, the chance of someone making a disparaging comment about Caillou very rapidly approaches 1.
This genuinely is a law, guys. It’s amazing how much people seem to hate Caillou, and you absolutely cannot talk about children’s programming without someone at some point mentioning what a terrible goddamn show it is. It’s nearly impossible.
And my son has never displayed the slightest interest in watching it, so my wife and I have been spared this particular terror in our childrearing. So, two nights ago, we decided that after we put him to bed we would deliberately expose ourselves to this terrible thing. What the hell, I thought, maybe it’ll make for a blog post.
Short version, because this isn’t actually the point: early Caillou is, indeed, completely unbearable. Later seasons eliminate some of the stuff that makes the early episodes bad, but oh man are the early episodes bad.
While we were watching, I posted the following two Tweets:
Currently watching an episode of #Caillou on purpose to see what all the hate is about. GETTING IT.
— Luther M. Siler (@nfinitefreetime) July 22, 2014
As of this morning, with– and this is important– not a single retweet– these two posts have 1,707 and 1,714 views, respectively.
Not one retweet.
I posted this last night, when I discovered this phenomenon:
Really? Two damn tweets about #caillou got more views than every other tweet I did today put together? How in the hell?
— Luther M. Siler (@nfinitefreetime) July 23, 2014
That Tweet currently has 1,039 impressions, with no retweets, and has only been online for about eleven and a half hours– most of which in the dead of night in the continental US.
What this implies is that there are an extraordinary number of people who, for some reason, are searching Twitter for the #caillou hashtag.
So I searched Twitter for the #caillou hashtag. Something’s going on here, right?
Go ahead; try it yourself. Long story short: shit still don’t make no sense.
And that’s why no one should waste time worrying about social media.