Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Great Twit Experiment: Putting the "soc" in "soc-med"

Inspired by @missstrickie, my partner in crime, I embarked on a little adventure in Twitterland. My goal was to contact every Twit I follow. “Twit” is the official word, right?

I have no idea. In fact, despite being in the blue bird’s nest for almost 21 months, with over 1900 tweets to my name, I know very little about the workings of this vast social network…and still can’t define it in 140 characters or less.

Anyways, starting at 7:00 Friday morning, I began to “put the soc in soc-med” by sending personalized messages to the 77 people I have chosen to follow. Although extremely curious as to how many would respond (the over-under was 28), I was reaching out with no real expectations.

My first response came at 10:03 from a very prompt @mrbigwood, who got back to me in 3 minutes…which was fast, but not as fast as @fringegirl (2 min).

By 3:40pm, eight hours into the process, I had reached out to half my list and only heard back from eight. But, the day was still young…after all, not everyone has a job which allows them to live on Twitter. Sure enough, the floodgates opened after 4pm with 18 responses over the next six hours…including @pyledriver1969 who actually responded almost an hour before I asked him a question. I signed off at 10:00pm…and then waited.

Five stragglers would arrive to the party in the subsequent 12 hours and I officially closed the doors at 8:56pm on Saturday, after @dldiener popped in (31 hours after her invite, but welcomed nonetheless)…only to reopen them briefly at 7:30pm Sunday for @rowdykittens. If two days isn’t being fashionably late, I don’t know what is.

So…I tweeted 77 people and received 31 responses.

That’s a 40% response rate - 55% if you disregard the 21 (4 celebrities, 7 “brands”, 10 non-regular tweeters) who I shouldn’t expect to hear from anyways. Although, getting a “Hey” from @redhourben or the lovely @alyssa_milano certainly would’ve kept me from crying myself to sleep.

Am I angry with the 45% who didn’t respond? Nope. Oh, a purge is necessary but it’s definitely not based on who did and who didn’t respond. This isn’t a bitter lashing out at the 30 regular-tweeting, non-celebrity, real people who won’t talk to me, because that would be petty…in a High School Cheerleader kinda way. You see, there are many legitimate reasons why these individuals didn’t acknowledge my outstretched hand:

1. My message got lost in their busy news feed.
2. They’re extremely busy.
3. They can’t read.

Believe me, I don’t take any of this personally. If I did…I couldn’t expect my off-line friends to constantly forgive me for taking three weeks to respond to their emails…or return their call.

However, this experiment did raise two questions…that I do take seriously.

“Who should I follow?”…and more importantly, “Why should someone follow me?”

I’ll tell you my thoughts…tomorrow.

P.S. @dandelionfleur has now responded…a mere 71 hrs after initial contact was made.

That’s 32.

**READ what happened next HERE

Have a good one,

Click the little birdy...


  1. Interesting. Looking forward to more thoughts

  2. Interesting experiment! I use twitter some, but honestly, sometimes I go days without ever tweeting or looking at it. I've already given up twitter once, but came back. I do enjoy browsing interesting links people put up on twitter, but overall, I could live with another tweet, twit, or twirl. It gets lonely out in the bird world when nobody wants to chat, or tweet, or whatever it is we do on Twitter. Most of the time I feel like I'm tweeting alone and nobody gives a tweet.

    Anyway, cool idea of your to put the "soc" back in "social".

  3. I have to say, I'm glad I wasn't the very last.

    I have to concur with at least one of the reasons you might not have heard back- and that is it getting lost in the busy news feed. I saw your tweet probably within a few hours of posting. At the moment I couldn't spend any more time online, not even a tweet-second longer, but thought- I'll remember to reply. HA! So, much later, I finally remembered and had to go hunt for it. Then I replied. But, if my brain had done like it normally does- it might have been days before I remembered. And, if I'd have missed the feed because I follow 140+ twit (I kinda like that term) folks, some of them verrrrrry busy in twitting land- personal irk of mine- and if I hadn't clicked in when I did- it would have been very buried. Then you'd have to wait until I remembered to check my messages.

    I'm just barely keeping my head above water in Twitterland, I really don't know what I'm doing there- and, just a hunch, some of those non-celebrity/forget what the other qualifier is folks might not have any better clue than I do, but maybe my Twit IQ is just low.

    Just a thought...curious to hear the rest of this, as it's something I'm just learning about.

    Did you see Jody Hedlund's post on Twitter the other day-- good stuff there. I had no idea.

  4. oh my lands! how long did it take you to do that picture?! impressive original art Timster. Do you hate being called Timster? I can stop that. Not sure why that sticks in my head more...maybe because you don't look like a 10 yr old boy that's fallen in a well.

  5. I'm not a twit (although I've been called one). I can't imagine having time to tweet - just reading through the wall on FB takes over an hour, and I do it 3 times a day.

    Question, Timothy - (since Lynn says you hate Timester, and I must agree you don't look like a little boy in well, so I'll go with Timothy) Do you tweet back every twit that tweets you?

  6. This is a GREAT experiment (only a person with a warped sense of humor would dare to undertake! :))

    I have to admit that I get so many automated direct messages (aka-annoying SPAM!--But I guess since all SPAM is annoying...it would just be SPAM) that I initially thought your message was an auto-generated question. But because I also have no life, I decided to respond to see if YOU were, like Pinocchio, a REAL boy!

    I have been using Twitter for about 3 years and have somewhere between 15,000 and a Gazillion Twits I am connected with, but find fabulous people every day in the vast stream of chatter like YOU. What you did was brilliant because it sets you apart - kind of like someone wearing a WHERE'S WALDO hat in a crowd. Of course once I find someone that is interesting, I put them in a LIST of favorites so I can actually get to know them through their posts.

    It was great connecting and here's to BIG learning and BIG fun in Twitter Town!


  7. Joanne...more thoughts to come.

    Fringe Girl...It's a weird world, but at times I enjoy it more than Facebook.

    D.L...there is definitely a learning curve, of which I'm still at the bottom, but I definitely see the upside. Thanks for noticing the pic. I thought it turned out quite nice, myslef. And, "Timster" is fine.

    Cat...I think I do. (Timothy is fine, too)

    Gina...Thank for noticing the warped sense of humour and for the Waldo comparison. I wear both labels proudly. Been great connecting with you as well.

  8. :chuckling: forget Timmy-- we'll just call you Warped Waldo, ha!


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