Followers = Tweets?

Twitter is definitely a the hot topic these days.  I was interested in how strong the relationship (correlation) between the number tweets people are doing versus their number of followers and thought I’d share the results.

Correlation

Before we move on it’s time for a quick primer on Correlation.  It’s a statistics term.  But before you tune out, it’s simply a calculation to determine how strong a relationship is between two things.  Basically the closer to 1, the stronger the relationship (i.e. if it was 1 then there’s a direct relationship between tweets and followers).  The closer to 0, the weaker the relationship between tweets and followers (i.e. if it was 0 then there’s no relationship between tweets and followers).  If you want some more detail, check out here.

The People I Follow

At the time I did this little experiment I was following 54 people.  It turned out that the correlation between the number of tweets and the number of followers those people had was 0.66.  So what does this tell us?  Well, it says that there’s a reasonably strong relationship between the number of tweets and the number of followers you’re likely to receive.

The Conclusion

I suppose it stands to reason that the more you tweet, the more you’re visible, which means the more followers you’ll receive.  What this little calculation doesn’t do is give a measure of the “quality” of the tweets.  This is subjective but I’m sure plays a part as well.  As does real-world notoriety.  I guess it’s not Rocket Science.  More time tweeting = More followers.

What happened to the Internet?

Social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. No one actually knows how. When finally done, there is surprise its not better.”  Avinash KaushikAnalytics Evangelist – Google

To say that Social Media is all the rage could be considered the understatement of the century.  Having been around since the beginnings of mass adoption of the Internet, I do look at the current rage with curiosity and more than a little bemusement.  Does anyone remember Internet Relay Chat (IRC)?  If you don’t it was a tool for meeting and holding conversations with people online.  You had a nickname (handle) and you joined conversations (rooms or channels – guess what? They were lablelled #topic like in everyone’s favourite tool at the moment).  Sound familiar?

The Present

Fast forward 15 years and the tools to create, publish and broadcast your thoughts and creations (content and media) are far more powerful.  The technology advances to help get that information to your computer is faster.  You can now consume all this creativity in many more places than just your computer room, such as TV’s, media centres and mobile phones.  The ability to create all this content (media) and share it in an interactive fashion (social) has resulted in the coining of a new term – Social Media.

The Principles

But have the “Social” aspects really changed?  Did it really need to be labelled just because it was an electronics conversation rather than a physical one?  I guess the reality is that the Internet, like Twitter did recently when Oprah and Ashton Kutcher brought it to the masses, went mainstream.  It needed a new label.  And we thought the Information Superhighway was the Internet going mainstream.  Hah!  Well, it’s no longer just a big pipe full of fantastic information, it’s (back to) a place for fun, creativity, innovation and social interaction.

The Loss of Perspective?

I think this is great!  But with all this I still have a weird feeling that there seems to have been a little loss of perspective.  I would suggest that people aren’t learning Social Media.  They already know how to be social, interact with other humans, the principles of trust, relationships and conversations.  Implicitly if not explicitly.  They should continue to apply those principles in the electronic world.  Maybe the lack of a physical presence (tone, body language etc) causes a loss of perspective?

Or maybe, because the Internet’s gone maintstream, there are a whole new swag of Internet users who are trying it for the first time in earnest and trying new things.   Maybe I’m just old!  Bah!  Humbug!

Poor Me!

Well, if you’ve read this far – Thanks!  I’m not sure I’ve sorted my thoughts out on this one yet and I didn’t want to make it sound like a rant.  I’m just a little bemused by the “Social Media” phenomenon but don’t get me wrong.  I think it’s fascinating.  I’ll be keeping my eye out for the hard evidence for it being beneficial for business.

What do you think?  Maybe someone fancies some homework?  Who knows who coined the term Social Media?

What do you do on the web?

Have you ever thought about what you “do” on the web? Have you ever thought about where you “are” on the web? I spend my whole day on it but I haven’t really thought about it in a particularly structured way.

I had to think structured thoughts today as I wanted to finally get scrambledminds up to scratch as my place to waffle my heart out to the ether that is the web. I started with making sure that the blog had all the right elements, including some reference to where else people can find me.

This led me to jotting a quick diagram of where I spend my time from a web social sense. Or in more common parlance these days – where was I social networking. Where was I creating social media? Catchy stuff huh?

So, apart from being a very abridged version, this shows how complex the presence or landscape of anyone can be on the web. I thought this was particularly interesting in the context of what you actually “do” at each node. I’m updating my status, keeping up to date with the activities of friends and colleagues, creating and sharing content, having real time conversations. It’s had work!

It also raises the question of where do you spend your time most effectively. These things can be massive time wasters. What were people doing before this stuff existed? I should write about the techniques that I use to filter out the noise. It raises even bigger questions for where time and dollars should be spent for a business.

Do you know what your social landscape/presence looks like? How do you use your web tools? How do you filter the noise? Let me know.


Essential WordPress Plugins

WordPress is an amazing tool. It’s probably one of the easiest tools to use when if you want to “blog” or record your thoughts for the anonymous audience that is the web. This simplicity also means that there are certain things that have been left out, however the smart folks over there at Automattic made sure that WordPress can be extended by the community through themes and plugins. Today I wanted to give you the essential WordPress plugins that I’ve found to be the best at covering the most important holes. I’ve recently been getting into blogging a lot more and have found an interest in Internet Marketing so I’ve got a list that I’m now installing on every blog. Sorry for another essential WordPress plugins list but, to be honest, the other lists I’ve found haven’t really suited my needs (I really wanted to write crap here but I showed some restraint) or they were very out of date (as I’m sure this post will be in 6 months time). So here we go:

  • Make your blog search engine friendly (Search Engine Optimised – SEO) – All in One SEO – donate if you like it.
  • Make sure you back up! – WordPress Database Backup – Note that this will only back up what’s in your database, which is just about everything. It will not back up your files or anything else in the wp-content folder where WordPress is installed as far as I’m aware. I’ve also recently found another plugin (WordPress Online Automated Backup) that backs up to an online service in an automated fashion. I’m not sure if this backs up your whole blog either though but it’s much easier in concept as you don’t need to do anything after it’s configured.
  • Check your stats – Google Analytics for WordPress – I’ve recently been learning of the wonders of Google Analytics and the power within. This tool is great for understanding who is visiting and doing what on your site. Massive!
  • Update google when you post – Google XML Sitemaps – This gets the updated information to your greatest friend (and potentially all powerful overseer), Google so that your info is always up to date in search engine land.
  • Let people share your content – AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget – This will add the little button at the end of the post that allows someone to post this link to digg, delicious, facebook etc. Social bookmarking is the term I believe. I love it when all I have to do is install a plugin. I hate coding. It’s a shame that I know the word coding and what it means.

I’ve included the relevant links to each of the plugin locations but I’d strongly recommend you use the new search and installation feature from within WordPress as this makes installation so much easier. These are installed over the default WordPress plugins which I think are also essential. Happy plugin fun!

*** Update 13 April 2009 ***
I’ve found another essential plugins for wordpress:

  • Give people access to your RSS feed… and measure it! Feedburner Feedsmith. This lets you redirect the default feed address of your wordpress blog (http://www.myexampleblog.com/feed to your feedburner location by default so everyone gets the feed from the same place. You get to measure all the goings on with Feedburner this way


Facebook

So… what’s with facebook? Why do we need more social networking on the Internet when most of us suck at it in real life? Why has it become the latest fad? I thought it was around for quite some time and now I’m fielding facebook requests (which my AV for some reason labels as spam :) ) on a daily basis and I’m pimping out my profile. What good will come of this I wonder?… All I can say is that MySpace is so 15 minutes ago.