James Mayes

Blog: Do you KNOW how you use Twitter? Or are you guessing?

In Social Media, Twitter, Twitter Tips on March 8, 2011 at 8:56 am

As regular readers will know, I’m a fan of poking at new Twitter apps to see what they can do – regular posts result from this! Today though, I want to revisit an old one which I think gets overlooked way too often. Then I want to combine it’s use with something bang up to date – time to challenge your Twitter habits!

TweetStats has been around some time – sure, it gets tweaks now and again, but the core functionality is tight and focussed.  There’s a mix of well-presented information about Twitter in general – coupled with more specific information on your own habits. It doesn’t get into the dangerous space of trying to calculate your (or anyone else’s) influence – but it does help you understand your own usage better – and that’s a great place to start if you want to improve your  understanding of almost anything!

Where do tweets come from?First up – general information available. Simple stuff, but often over-looked.  I’ve just produced a report on Twitter’s activity today. You can pull the trends for now, today, or even the top 50 of all time.  What catches my attention though, is the source of tweets.  I regularly hear people say that there are too many automated tweets, that Twitter is losing it’s edge. Well, as this one shows, the vast majority (61.3%) are coming from the web. Bearing in mind the API changes made with the introduction of OAuth last year, that’s not sneaky un-named apps, that’s the real thing.

But enough of the general, let’s get personal. What does TweetStats do for you? Well, it’ll help you understand when you tweet. Which Twitter clients you use. Who you reply to most, and who you retweet most.  Like anyone, you’ll have a gut feel for these things. I’m willing to bet that while your gut feel it right most of the time, TweetStats is able to throw in the odd curve ball.

You also get the fun of figuring out why certain things really stand out, especially if you combine some of the data.  For example, Monday-Friday, my tweets are fairly even in volume – except Thursday, which has a significant spike.  Not sure on that.  Subsequently looking at the Twitter client spread, I see CoTweet heading the list, then Seesmic (fair enough, that’s the desk-top and the phone covered). Not far behind though, is TwitterFall.  I only really use that when I’m tweeting from a conference and trying to keep up with the back-channel activity. Connection? For sure! I tweet heavily at conferences, using TwitterFall – and most conferences in the recruiting industry happen to fall on a Thursday.

When do I tweet?

So this shot here is Tweet Density – times of the day, across the week.  The working week pattern is pretty obvious. Likewise, I tend to be on-line at weekends before the kids are about in the morning, and maybe a little more work when they’re in bed. Here’s the thing though.  I can now take what TweetStats tells me is the real deal – and compare it against something from CrowdBooster, suggesting where I should be at my most active.

OK, so CrowdBooster’s telling me 10am – cool, looks like I’m mostly on time there! It’s also got some hot time for me mid-afternoon and again, I think I hit that. I’ll admit, I’ve been playing with CrowdBooster for a while and I do indeed try to keep timely tweets in mind because of it.  I’ve noticed and improvement in resonance with some of the stuff I do (more blog reads, more retweets) – so I believe there’s certainly a benefit towards understanding your own habits on Twitter.

Question is, what do you think? Am I getting a little too carried away by the data? Are these tools genuinely useful to you too?

  1. For a twitter notice this is really intersting. Well written & easy to understand – thank you

  2. Or even a twitter novice!

  3. Hi James,

    I love TweetStats, great to see it being put to use.

    I think it’s worth bearing in mind that if you tweet most at a particular time of day then that is the time you will have the most engagement. It’s self perpetuating.
    Your tweet density graph shows you tweet a lot at around 10am, it’s no wonder that this is when Crowdbooster identifies your highest levels of engagement.

    I’d really like to see a tool that looks at your followers and tells you the times of day when the highest numbers of THEM are seen tweeting (and presumably seeing tweets from others) – this would allow you to find new times of day to tweet and hopefully get rich responses.

    I’m looking at a few tools at the moment, but not convinced yet.

    Keep crunching the numbers 🙂

  4. @Beki – Thanks, I try to bear in mind not everyone has been on Twitter for years!

    @Katherine – I think you’re spot-on with that. What I have here is a useful guide, but sure, existing activity will influence it. The proposal for a new tool is something I have talked to a few people about – I agree it’s a view that’s currently missing.

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