August 30, 2008

Silly Twitter statistic

In April, the widely respected Louis Gray came up with an uncharacteristically silly idea — the ratio between a Twitterer’s number of followers and total tweets. Recently, Ed Kohler posted about essentially the same thing, without obvious attribution. Gray and Kohler both seem to suggest that the number of your number of followers at any one point in time should be viewed as a guide to how many total tweets you should make over your lifetime use of the service.


At least the whole line of reasoning isn’t as bad as another one I recently discovered on the subject of information overload.


5 Responses to “Silly Twitter statistic”

  1. Ed Kohler on August 30th, 2008 12:14 pm

    Interesting that Louis has had similar thoughts. I don’t happen to subscribe to Louis’ blog, so hadn’t realized he had blogged on this issue as well.

    Twitter Grader, which appears to have launched on Thursday, seems to be using similar metrics to determine user ratings.

  2. Curt Monash on August 30th, 2008 2:52 pm


    That happens many times, of course.

    I was amused to see the same idea — which I disagree with anyway — to hit Techmeme twice, a few months apart, with no apparent connection between the two versions.

    I don’t understand your point on Twitter Grader, however. The site describes its criteria as:

    # The number of followers you have
    # The power of this network of followers
    # The pace of your updates
    # The completeness of your profile
    # …a few others

    That sounds very different.

    Mediaphyter quoted the company directly, and got a similar answer:

    1. Number of followers
    2. Number of followers that your followers have (the power of your network)
    3. Quantity and pace of updates
    4. Additional proprietary analysis (this is the super secret algorithmic stuff generator part)

  3. 21st Century Spirituality · Hyperstream of 2008-08-31 on August 31st, 2008 6:51 pm

    […] Hutch Carpenter: Silly Twitter statistic (via Google Reader) […]

  4. Louis Gray on August 31st, 2008 11:37 pm

    There’s no perfect way to “assign” whether somebody tweets too frequently, or not frequently enough. Even the “Twitter Noise” ratio I put together didn’t take into account longevity or if somebody simply wanted to keep a small group of friends.

    I wrote it up as I used it as an internal measure for myself, and felt if I exceeded 1/1 then maybe I wasn’t being interesting enough to my followers.

  5. Curt Monash on August 31st, 2008 11:59 pm


    If there were a comparison of Tweets/Month with Number of Followers, I might see it. I’d be more content if you and Ed had framed it in those terms from the getgo. 🙂

    But Total Tweets Ever vs. Number of Followers Now was in my opinion a fried statistic from the getgo. Even when you introduced it, there was a considerable disparity in how long different people had been on Twitter. E.g., I joined early this year, and for seven straight weeks gathered around 100 followers per week. That’s a lot different from other people’s Twitterhistory …

    Care to do a followup post now? 🙂


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