Same Tweet, Different Interactions?
November 14, 2017 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Several hours ago, I tweeted this quote from a radio interview on OPB, attributing it to the speaker; "Portland is a city that pushes black people out of neighborhoods and replaces them with 'Black Lives Matter' signs." I tweeted it using the speaker's handle. But I didn't combine both handles in the same tweet because I wanted to see if it would be treated differently if I tweeted them separately.

Within two hours, 1185 people had interacted with the tweet associated with the speaker's organization, but 20 people had interacted with the tweet associated with the radio station's handle. Any thoughts as to why the difference? Interactions with the speaker continue to grow while with the station, continue to stagnate.
posted by CollectiveMind to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pretty sure it’s because you began one with an “@“ address so it doesn’t appear in your timeline and doesn’t get priority in searching.
posted by cyphill at 3:15 PM on November 14, 2017


A single retweet by a popular account can have a huge impact. The one with the organization's handle shows up automatically in their notifications. If the organization sees it and retweets it, it'll be seen by their followers, who are of course already interested in the topic, and likely to retweet it further, causing even more people to see it…
posted by mbrubeck at 3:33 PM on November 14, 2017


Pretty sure it’s because you began one with an “@“ address so it doesn’t appear in your timeline and doesn’t get priority in searching.

OP never said that s/he tagged the speaker at the beginning of the tweet, and I am sure s/he tagged both tweets in the same manner, so this wouldn't explain it either way.

Anyway, OP, I'm unsure of what you're trying to figure out here, but I am really active on Twitter and I have a decent amount of followers. I can say, sometimes a tweet will have been up for hours sitting stagnant, then I retweet it, and it gets a flurry of traction. Or with my own tweets, one large account will retweet it and it will spread. Perhaps you just had someone see one of the tweets first, retweet it, and that's why it took off, for no particular reason than that's what a large account saw and retweeted.

I also would suspect the more specific the information, the more it would spread, hence the tweet being attributed to a person getting more traction than a tweet vaguely attributed to a radio station. I avoid retweeting any news that is vague or not properly sourced. There's too much actual "fake news" (not news I don't like, which is Donald Trump definition of "fake news.") The organization/speaker would also probably be more likely to retweet your tweet, which will get their active followers engaged as well.

I think you need a larger sample size to be sure what it means, but those are my guesses.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:57 PM on November 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


>OP never said that s/he tagged the speaker at the beginning of the tweet, and I am sure s/he tagged both tweets in the same manner, so this wouldn't explain it either way.


OP didn't say it, but the tweets are tagged as cyphill describes. Searching twitter for OP's quote brings up the 2 tweets if you want to check for yourself. One definitely starts with an @ as cyphill describes, and the other does not. The one without the @ shows up in the timeline, which is probably why it is getting more attention. Only the @'d user will see the other one unless specifically looking for it.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 5:26 PM on November 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yeah I'd say it's two things.

First, as others have mentioned, only people who follow both you and the radio station would have seen the one starting with @ on their timeline (plus whoever Twitter's algorithmic timeline decides to show it to anyway). Many people work around this by rephrasing to avoid starting with an @username, or starting the tweet with a "." first (as in ".@username is great!").

Second, it looks like the organization retweeted the tweet where you tagged them. That brought your tweet to the attention of many more people, and they will, by virtue of following the organization, be the people most likely to care about its message and interact with it.

A lot of this stuff is just dumb luck sometimes too. If someone notices a tweet and retweets it, it builds steam and spreads quickly. If not, the tweet can die a quiet death. Some people and organizations monitor their mentions closely and retweet things all the time, while others never do. It could be as simple as whoever monitors Twitter for the radio station might have retweeted you, but they were in the bathroom and never scrolled down enough to see it.
posted by zachlipton at 5:54 PM on November 14, 2017


TYVM for the feedback. I appreciate it.
posted by CollectiveMind at 8:17 PM on November 14, 2017


>OP didn't say it, but the tweets are tagged as cyphill describes. Searching twitter for OP's quote brings up the 2 tweets if you want to check for yourself. One definitely starts with an @ as cyphill describes, and the other does not.

That's funny. I did actually search, but the one with the @ in front didn't show up because I forgot to click the "latest" tab. I stand corrected. You can't start a tweet with an @ sign or it gets buried. Type .@ as others have suggested. That's why no one saw the tweet. But I think the other things I mentioned are still a factor, i.e. you sometimes it's just random luck as to who sees it and retweets it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:58 PM on November 14, 2017


The answers you got about the tweet beginning with @username are correct; most of your followers won't see the tweet that begins with @.

You can see how many impressions each of your tweets received. While logged in at Twitter.com, use the Profile and Settings dropdown to access Analytics. You'll be able to see per-tweet stats there, and I suspect you'll find that very few people saw the less-successful tweet.
posted by reeddavid at 8:19 PM on November 15, 2017


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