Yesterday, I was hanging out in front of my computer in the afternoon, scrolling through my Twitter feed, and Stephen King made a bit of a joke about one of the characters in The Hunger Games. I replied with a jokier joke, and much to my surprise, Mr. King retweeted my reply.
I’m a big fan of Mr. King’s works. I’ve been reading his books for more than 35 years, and I buy each of them when they are published. So I was chuffed, as they say on this island, when he retweeted my tweet. I noticed that it was the first tweet he ever retweeted, so I guess that, in spite of my joke being simple, I should be honored.
After Mr. King’s retweet, my iPhone started displaying scads of notifications: my Twitter client, Twitterrific, notifies me when someone retweets one of my tweets, mentions me, or follows me. The notifications were overloading my iPhone. (Not really; but their frequency was a bit annoying.)
It’s now about 24 hours later, and I was interested to see what effect Mr. King’s retweet had. You can access Twitter’s analytics feature by clicking the little bar-graph icon below any of your tweets. And I did. Here’s what it tells me:
The most interesting thing to note is that only about 132,000 people saw the tweet. Impressions includes any view of the tweet on the web, or in the official Twitter client. I don’t know what percentage of people use third-party clients, but they aren’t counted. However, I’d guess it’s a small number of Twitter users.
Next is the number of engagements. These are the people who clicked on the tweet, who retweeted it, who liked it, or who looked at my profile. Granted, the fact that Mr. King retweeted one of my tweets made a number or people – about 400 – wonder who I was. I got some new followers, but most unfollowed me pretty quickly. Not surprising; I’m not really in the same league as Mr. King.
There are some other numbers, which, in this case, aren’t really useful. I’m not very clear on what media engagements are; it seems to be clicks on media such as graphics or videos. Maybe those are clicks on other tweets, made my people inspection my profile.
The most interesting takeaway is the fact that even for a celebrity with more than 1 million followers, this person’s tweets are seen by about 1/8 of those followers. Sure, it’s only 24 hours after the tweet, and there will be a small number of views over time, but it shows that most people don’t check Twitter very often, if at all. When you see celebrities with millions of followers, you need to realize that only a fraction of them are active Twitter users, and not bots.
Keep this in mind the next time you see a very high follower count. It doesn’t mean what you think.
Oh, and, Mr. King; thanks!