Twitter Quality vs. Quantity

Twitter Quality vs. Quantity

by danperry on March 18, 2009

in Online Marketing

There are lots of new Twitter tools out there to help you generate followers via auto-follows, follow-backs, etc. (Ever have someone follow you multiple times in a day or two? Bingo.) This helps you create a large number of followers in a very short period of time. This comes back to the old debate of quality vs. quantity. If you generate followers via these tools you will have quantity, but no quality (or at least, very little.)

On the other hand, if you grow followers organically, and people follow you because they enjoy your tweets and are actually interested in what you have to say, your quality is through the roof (and your Twitter experience will be much better as well.)

So this begs the question… How do you tell if someone has used one of these tools? Although there isn’t a perfect solution, there is something you can do, and that’s simply check TwitterCounter. Twitter Counter shows you how quickly you (or anyone else) has gained followers. It only goes back three months, but honestly that’s when these tools started to come in vogue anyway.

Here’s a screenshot of my follower growth over the last 3 months:


As you can see, a nice straight line of followers. It just looks natural. Now let’s look at someone who told me that they “tested some software”.

Twitter Counter

Doesn’t look nearly as natural. In fact, the only way you’d see a spike like this is if you were highlighted on CNET or Gizmodo or something.

This isn’t fool-proof, as I’m sure you’ve deciphered, but it is a decent tool for a quick measurement. The next time you see someone gain a huge amount of followers in a short period of time, send them a link to their TwitterCounter graph, and ask them which Top 100 Blog they got listed on. If the answer is “Whu?”, you’ll know they value quantity over quality.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

joel March 18, 2009 at 12:25 am

I interesting post, Dan, great observations. These kinds of behavioral graphs are very telling. No doubt advertisers and marketers will start using this kind of analysis to better understand and target people.

Aaron Goldman March 18, 2009 at 1:01 am

Good post Dan. Curious to see if your chart spikes tomorrow when my Search Insider column runs. Hopefully no-one will mistake you for a bot! :)

Lee Odden March 18, 2009 at 3:41 am

You know how it is with these things Dan, when some people smell a path of least resistance, they’ll take it, exploit it and move on to the next opportunity.

I think it would be an interesting idea to add a qualitative measure to being a follower. ie, follower with a certain level of profile completion, tweeting activity (recency and frequency), tendency to link out or RT, etc.

danperry March 18, 2009 at 1:19 am

@Aaron: That’s why I needed to get this post out today. I’m expecting a landslide tomorrow. :) I’m thinking classic hockey stick!

Luis Ruberte March 19, 2009 at 7:48 am

Good Post! It is true that the internet is full of those who are using these tools to accumulate followers in large quantity. In hopes that the theory of probability based on a numbers game, works in their favor. Embracing a mindset that their is more than one way to catch a fish.

Knit Hat April 3, 2009 at 9:00 pm

The best feature of this site is the part where you select “past 3 months” and it crashes your browser. Radical. ^_^

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