Twitter followers – 20% real, 80% imaginary?

A couple of days ago I posed a quick question on Twitter:

So I have 800+ followers. But I’m very curious – how many of you are ‘real’ (&active)? Reply to this & say ‘hi’ & I’ll post the results.

And then waited to see what kind of response I got.  Quite a few immediate replies from people affirming their existence – about 50 replies in the 1st half-hour.  An hour after posting that number was up to 88.

And then Twitter started ‘stressing out’ and I was no longer able to actually see (and thus count) any more of the replies.  Hmph.  I figured it was the typical twitter transient problem and that it would fix itself relatively soon but 48 hours later it’s still hosed.

But I eventually realized that keeps track of everything passing through twitter and that searching on my username would show me all the posts that had been directed at me.  Duh.  So I just now went over there and counted and at this point (2+ days later) I find that about 175 people replied in total.  That’s almost exactly 20% of the total number of people that Twitter says are following me.

Actually about what I’d expected I suppose (although the initial response during the 1st half-hour was actually more than I’d thought would come through).

Of course it raises the real question – what’s the deal with the other 650 or so?  Have they gotten tired of twitter?  Are they spambots?  Dead?  We’ll never know…

I was also curious to see if this little exercise would increase the number of followers in any way.  The theory being that anybody that replied to me would of course mention @ronbrinkmann in their tweet and thus anybody currently following that person would see my name and potentially decide to follow me as well.  Not sure there’s a whole lot to that theory.  I picked up about 12 new followers over the last couple of days but that’s about the normal rate I’m seeing anyway.

So thanks to everyone for participating and sorry if I didn’t get a chance to reply to anybody because, well, I couldn’t see the replies!  Feel free to ping me again…


7 thoughts on “Twitter followers – 20% real, 80% imaginary?

  1. I think I understand Twitter to work by default such that if A is following B and C is following A, C will not not see the @B tweet from A in their own Twitter feed unless C is also following B.

    Which is to say that of your followers that @ronbrinkmann you, only the portion of their followers that already follow you will see that tweet. This is tunable in Twitter settings.

    Not sure why I’m not following you, but I’ll fix that presently.

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