- March
Posted By : Adrian Chan
Twitalyzer, for dwunk tweeting

This is just a short post on twitter analytics tools, not the hefty ones but the lite ones. It’s a “get this off my chest” kind of post, combined with a “what do you all think?” To make it clear that I’m not being curmudgeonly or nit picky. Splitting hairs is actually quite fun if done with a group of friends.

Inspiration for this has been provided this morning by Twitalyzer, which as its name suggests, is a handy back-pocket device used to detect the blood-alcohol level of idiots. It’s been repurposed, however, to find drunk tweets, or is it twitterers? As it works on the basis that drunk twitterers slur their tweeting, the distinction is moot.

Using algorithms described in company literature as “special sauce” and emblazoned somewhat obliquely with the unusually conversational warning label “Contains nuts, made by nuts, is nuts. Well then, nuts it is!” and spuriously marked down to move (“$5 off! Buy Now!” Which is weird, as the product is originally priced at $1.99.), Twitalyzer measures the speed of tweeting, and calculates impact (damage) based on a number of factors.

Results, or the “TUI” index, establishes whether the user has been Tweeting Under the Influence. Unfortunately for some, it is unable to distinguish between those who are truly Influential, those Under the Influence (of said Influentials), and those simply High on themselves. Close semantic analysis of tweet content reveals that there is little to distinguish a slurred tweet from a disemvoweled tweet, and the twitterverse’s cultural adoption of license pl8 spelings and abbrvtions has reportedly fubarred an un-discloseable number of supercomputers.

One Twitter, or many?

Ok but seriously folks, just a few points worth making about twitter analytics tools.

Twitter isn’t really “one big social network.” So let’s not measure user “influence” or position against the entire twitter user population.

Twitter tweet “velocity” should not be an absolute number. Tweeting more, or tweeting a lot, is simply verbosity. Quantity over quality. And to count velocity against the maximum theoretical threshold of 1500/wk is just silly. That’s like calling an F22 Raptor slow (when compared to the speed of light).

Generosity, which is apparently the meaning of retweeting, should be calculated not by total retweets but by loyal retweets. What’s more, retweeting is a mutually beneficial gesture/act on twitter, so let’s not cal it generosity. And please filter out self-promotional, PRetweets, and reputational retweeting.

The case for weighting

All twitter tools should weight metrics against the user’s follower count, and frequency of use. Users who maintain small follower counts should not be discriminated against. Small followings can be much more attentive, loyal, (and cult-like. no, just kidding).

As a user increases his/her follower count s/he may tweet more – this doesn’t mean the tweets are better, nor does it mean they have more weight or influence. The more followers one has, the more one is followed. But many of those followers are following for reasons of their own visibility/twitter profile.

So to provide metrics using absolute numbers makes no sense, unless the goal on twitter is to become the most followed, and most verbose twitter user: a goal very few have ventured to achieve, and fewer still have sought to imitate or compete with. Relative scores beat absolute fools.

Finally, increasing numbers are not the only numbers that matter. There’s something to be said about loyalty, consistency, regularity, and which is flat, not increasing.

Let’s please not ruin twitter by turning it into a giant distributed high school gymnasium.


  • Excellent points. I totally agree with weighting. Twitter is not as absolute as many of these tools make it out to be. These are all interesting ways to visualize what is happening, but it still does not help people understand how being generous on twitter delivers value. The positive side is that people are trying to think about this at a much deeper level.

    What is your take on tweetreach.com?



  • Dirk,

    thanks! generosity clearly creates value, and it's strange to me that that wouldn't be clear. hasn't giving always benefited those who give as well as those who receive — and isnt that even more true online, where giving is so easily amplified?

    tweetreach, i'm not sure about yet. it still is a twitter counting machine. i'm thinking past counting machines for how to do this stuff right.

    what's your take on tweetreach?


  • I agree with you,but I certainly cant show up to my CFO's office and say I know revenue is down but at least we are generous on twitter.

    On your second point about counting numbers, I am with you. Tweetreach has been a good tool to bridge the old mindset with the new. Reach is a basic metric that most get.

    One of our social media goals is drive more traffic to our site. What i look for with this tool is how many that were “reached” actually clicked thru. That is a bit more insightful and is closer to what is important to my boss, new leads.

    Great stuff on the blog. Glad to be connected.


  • No, saying revenue is down but generosity is up might not be a smart and career enhancing move. However you might fly the corporate gulfstream down to capitol hill and ask for a $15 billion in bridge financing. That would be far more impressive, and these days, apparently more business-savvy and executive-like.

    Actually, spending is power. Old Chinese tributary system as an example. They gave away so much they cut off all foreign expeditions for two centuries. Didn't bother them much as China saw itself as center of the universe.

    But giving is power. There's just no macro for it in excel.

    Tealium offers a way to map social analytics to goog analytics for social media clickthroughs. Social media lead gen isn't hard to track — you can put an identifier in your url and catch it in goog analytics.

    But that's still the model of using social media for distribution, lead gen, traffic gen. Make sure not to miss out on the bigger gains, *even* if they're off the books and spreadsheets for now.

    cheers, thanks, likewise pleased and say hello to the bossman.


  • I will take a corporate bicycle..

    Agree on the distribution versus the bigger gains. Before getting started in this role I worked with our leadership team to agree on goals we would measure social media activity against, this is what we ended up with:

    * Shape perception of company and engage with thought leaders.
    * Increase social media relevance of Vignette.
    * Increase traffic to vignette.com.
    * Contribute to community by sharing insights and serving customers.
    * Internally, serve as a social media evangelist and cultural change agent.

    Totally see this evolving/maturing over time but it is where we are at the moment.

    How might you think about these differently?

    Thanks.. dirk

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