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Why you can’t base twitter success and expertise on stats

twitterHave you noticed recently the prolific increase in twitter based stats and reporting type websites ?

Have you noticed lots of people boasting about their position and status amongst their peers?

Have you noticed ’some’ social media experts using these sites as proof of their so called expertise?

Remember the saying ‘all that glitters is not gold’?

I’ll let you into a secret: On the whole these sites mean jack, zilch, zero, nout. And I say that being in the top 5 of one! But does that make them useless for everything or am I simply throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

Well no it doesn’t and no I’m not. Like many things in life it’s a case of ‘right tool for the job’ something that I believe in greatly. Now coming back to the issue at hand, that of folk using them to justify expert status.

The thing that actually counts is the thing that is almost impossible to measure

The trouble with this social media stuff is the thing that actually counts is the thing that is almost impossible to measure and gauge and that is engagement, interaction, meaningful relationships, true followers. lets face it numbers can be crunched and twisted to make anything look good, politicians do it every day!

For example: The number of people that follow someone (taken in isolation) is no real hard and fast gauge of how well you or anyone else for that matter doing because of several factors:

  1. It’s easy to gain 1000’s of followers by simply following 1000’s and hope they follow you back
  2. Your followers could be made of of a load of spam followers, bots and porn type followers. All of them meaningless
  3. It doesn’t take into account the level of interaction with your followers
  4. It doesn’t take into account the quality of your tweets
  5. It doesn’t take into account the value that your followers place on your tweets (if people are re-tweeting you)
  6. There’s no way to gauge what your followers truly think about you (unless you mind read)

Now some of these things are absolutely impossible to ascertain unless you interview every follower and review every single tweet and try and rate its value using some sort of predefined scale.

Useful for what?
So having established that these sites that rank lists of people into order actually mean nothing what can they be of use for? Well in the case of twiterholic.com you can find tweeters in your local area. You can see how active they are and use your own judgement as to whether they are worth following.

Some sites you can pick up stats about yourself that might give you an idea of how effective your tweets are by looking at the audience saturation level. In other words how many potential eyes has your tweet reached by others re-tweeting what you’ve said. Also a good indicator as to whether what you’re saying is of value.

Twitter based statistical websites include: www.twitterholic.com, www.tweetstats.com, www.twittercounter.com, www.twitteranalyzer.com to name but a few. There’s even one that pertains to gauge whether someone has more positive comments than negative said about them ( I tried it, it’s fun but essentially rubbish)!

The general rule is take it all with a pinch of salt and have a bit of fun. Learn to learn what is good and what is not and when a tool is useful and when it’s just a gimmick. Hopefully in 2010 we’ll start to see some more powerful analytical type tools that go some way towards being meaningful.

And remember; 56.8% of all statistics are made up!

As ever your comments are really welcome, please leave them below.

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2 Responses to “Why you can’t base twitter success and expertise on stats”

  1. @dazzx says:

    I agree they shouldn’t be taking to seriously but it is fun to see how often you are RT or who most influences you , i guess for the majority of us non business users just ask yourself do you enjoy twitter ? if you do then that’s all that should matter forget about Influence and Reach and so on … some of the most interesting people i speak to on twitter have very few followers so i don’t judge people by that . i cant speak from a business point of view because i don’t use twitter that way ,

    Interesting post

    @DAZZX Dazzx.eu

  2. Tweets that mention Twitter experts and statistics that don't add up | Twitter advice | Social media | Norfolk-web-marketing-blog -- Topsy.com says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darren , Gary Dickenson. Gary Dickenson said: New Blog: Why you can’t base twitter success and expertise on stats http://bit.ly/8NsqAD [...]

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