I was clicking around Twitter earlier today and I ended up on my analytics page, which I never look at because Twitter is entertainment for me, and as long as I'm entertained my ROI > 0. My Twitter stats indicate the following over the last month.
- 1.5% engagement rate on 104 tweets over last month
- Average of 2 retweets per day
- Average of 2 link clicks per day
- Averae of 3 replies per day.
My numbers YTD are very similar, so May has been an average month for me.
Several reports online, including this one suggest that my numbers are above average. The average Twitter account has 288 followers. I have about 1000. On quick search I didn't see super recent data, but 1000 followers likely puts me in the top 10% of Twitter users for that stat.
I'm not trying to make an argument that I'm some kind of Twitter guru. I'm making an argument that if I'm wondering about the point of Twitter, as an apparently popular(ish) user, most people probably don't wonder about Twitter at all. Facebook is mass market, without a doubt. Instagram and WhatsApp are too. Is Twitter? Is it really a part of the lives of most of the users? Or is it basically junk mail, almost all disposable without a second thought, with the occasional thing that grabs our interest?
What got me thinking about this is Jason Kottke's recent post, My Social Media Fast. Basically, he makes his living blogging, yet he quit social media for a week, and nobody even noticed.
Not a single person noticed that I had stopped using social media. (Not enough to tell me anyway.) Perhaps if it had been two weeks? For me, this reinforced that social media is actually not a good way to “stay connected with friends”. Social media aggregates interactions between loved ones so that you get industrialized communication rather than personal connection. No one really notices if a particular person goes missing because they’re just one interchangeable node in a network.
That got me wondering if anything we do on Facebook or Twitter matters. Certainly most of it is ephemeral, and in a lot of cases it is just the detritus of our brains. But are any real connections being forged? All my imaginary Internet friends came from my blog. I don't think I've forged any new relationships from Facebook. There are people on Twitter that I hope I get to meet in real life. However, my gut feel is that social media relationships are not as connecting as blog relationships were. Does that have something do do with the nature of blogs? Or is more an artifact of the idea that blogs weren't the fire-hose of data that Twitter and Facebook have become?