Tell me why Twitter is called “Social Media” again?


Don’t get me wrong, I like Twitter. It’s the primary way most people find and read The Dog & Pony Show. But I certainly don’t think Twitter is the end-all be-all, and in most instances you’d have to seriously convince me that a marketer should be in the space. Twitter certainly has its uses, but it’s not for everyone (or every company).

And this new study from social media company Sysomos proves me out. They analyzed 1.2 billion Tweets over a 2-month period and found that just 6% of them ever get retweeted. Only 23% even get replies and 85% of those only get one reply. So for all this talk of Twitter being a social tool for conversations, 3 out of 4 tweets are completely ignored.

On top of all that, 92% of replies and 97% of retweets happen in the first hour. So if your audience doesn’t happen to be online when you are, no one is responding.

When Twitter first launched, it was billed as “Micro-blogging” and I think that description still applies. Because just like the millions of blogs out there that never get read, there are billions of Tweets getting ignored, too.


4 Responses to “Tell me why Twitter is called “Social Media” again?”

  1. 1 Heather Ciere

    It’s a pretty big jump to surmise that lack of retweeting or @ replies means a tweet goes totally ignored and unread. For example – I got to this post through your tweet, but I’m choosing to reply here, not on Twitter, and I won’t be retweeting this because of the aforementioned logic leap. Still, it led me to your blog, I read it, and I even ended up engaging with it… without a single RT or @reply from me on Twitter. Stats are interesting but these don’t prove that tweets are ignored and result in nothing. They prove only that they weren’t interesting enough to RT or @reply, or that the engagement happened outside of Twitter.

  2. 2 dognpony

    I hear what you’re saying, but you kind of proved my point. My blog was the medium that ultimately allowed for our conversation, not Twitter. Twitter is merely a conduit to where the conversations are actually happening. There aren’t many conversations actually happening on Twitter. (Or if there are, they’re short-lived and superficial.)

    True, no RTs doesn’t necessarily mean the posts are being completely ignored, but if I put a URL on a billboard and that gets you to my blog, is the billboard social media?

  3. 3 Heather Ciere

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not arguing that Twitter is a bastion of meaningful conversations – it’s not. My issue was with the assertion that lack of Twitter love means your tweet was ignored or unread.

    Most social media isn’t very social… perhaps more social than a billboard but not by much. I don’t know how well we are served by delineating between social vs. blog vs. traditional vs. x vs. y… Isn’t the point to be seen and heard for our clients regardless of where we do it? Old Spice did a kickass job of straddling a bunch of these platforms because they had really great and smart creative. Period.

    If your argument is that social media is devoid of real conversation and mostly a tool to create engagement elsewhere I’m buying it for the most part. The good conversations that I see happen are usually between industry peers, not brands and consumers (although exception can be made for companies like @westjet that actually reply and handle complaints and kudos in the Twittersphere).

    I understood the initial argument to be lack of Twitter acknowledgement mean 0% engagement – regardless. period. end of story. And we’ve just proven that ain’t the case.


    And for the record, I’ve RT’d you plenty in the past. Love the blog. It’s a daily read.

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