The Correlation of Tweets to Twitter Followers

Courtesy of TweetStats and TwitterCounter, plus a little email surveying,  I was able to put together the graph below for my Twitter account.


Fascinating. Simple relationship:

more tweets = more followers

Correlation coefficient (on only 5 observation points) of 0.99.

DISCLAIMER: The results here are for example only, and may not represent your actual mileage. If you only tweet  simple grunts or what you’re eating for lunch, you’re not likely to experience an increase in followers. It helps if you’ve got another place where you’re sharing your thoughts, such as a blog, or you’re already well-known elsewhere, such as being a CEO or an NBA player. And it probably helps if your tweets are on topics that a lot of other Twitterers are interested in. Finally, you must give to get, so follow and engage others you find interesting.


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About Hutch Carpenter
Chief Scientist Revolution Credit

16 Responses to The Correlation of Tweets to Twitter Followers

  1. Liam says:

    Very succinctly stated, although, it really seems straightforward enough that if you don’t particpate much, not much will come of it. I don’t understand people who tweet what they’re having for lunch; how do they imagine anyone will show the slightest interest?

  2. Interesting analysis. Makes sense.

  3. The beauty of Twitter is its versatility of purpose. Perhaps the hardest thing for people is to make their observations known publicly. Professionals who deliver good work daily in their lives seem particularly good candidates for attracting the attention of others. Sharing information your find useful, questions you have, ideas about things – all the ingredients one needs to find others of similar interests.

  4. Are you sure the correlation isn’t reversed, e.g., more followers encourages more Tweets? Also, more followers -> more tweets -> even more followers

  5. Louis Gray says:

    This is a single data point. While I would tend to possibly agree, what you’re missing is that practically everybody’s Twitter followers are spiking.

    I wrote about it three weeks ago:

    If you take a look at TwitterCounter, you’ll see growth is across the board:

    Jesse Stay for example:

    Hutch Carpenter:

    Louis Gray:

    Up and to the right all day long. This doesn’t prove I’m tweeting with greater frequency, because I’m not.

  6. Isaac – I think you’re probably right. More followers makes you think, “Wow, there’s a lot of people I can connect with. Let me doing some twittering.” But my experience has been one where a series of decent tweets results in a flurry of new followers.

  7. Louis – you’re right. And if I leveled off on my monthly tweet volume, the followers would still go up. Twitter is on some sort of huge growth curve it seems.

    But there is truth in the graph. If you become active, people will retweet you, find you via @replies and find you via keywords. It actually shares characteristics with blogging in that way.

  8. I’ve had more follows (though not as many as you fellows) and am inclined to agree it’s got more to do with critical mass of Twitter than anything I’m doing. My tweets have declined since I re-activated on Twitter early last year.

    Which brings up another data point: is there a greater relative increase among users who were early adopters on Twitter? I have a completely unsubstantiated theory (i.e., of the extracted from my a** variety) that I’m gaining followers because I got on early enough to show up on most people’s home page panel.

    So when new people jump on Twitter, they’re seeing my mug over and over and eventually, get curious enough to check me out.

    Because really, I’m not that interesting.

  9. communicatrix – Ha! I think you’re interesting. To your point about being somewhat inactive but still gaining followers. You said it – Twitter is hitting some kind of critical mass. Now if your tweet volume picked up, there’d be an incremental increase in the follower rate, I suspect.

    I agree that the earliest folks are likely seeing the benefit of their “early adoptership” in terms of follower growth.

  10. I think the most interesting thing would be map specific topics / words in your tweets to followers. I’ve been playing with splicing in company names or other topics into my tweets to see what companies are following, who uses search and bots to follow people, and how they engage once they see terms pop up. All anecdotal at the moment, but it would be dig in further…

  11. Very spot on Hutch. I have found I attract very specific groups depending on the trending of my tweets.

    I wonder if the amount of replies and with whom matters as well.

    I recently was going back and forth with Chris Brogan and then I almost instantaneously gained 10 more followers.

  12. Taylor – what a great idea. Identify keywords to followers on Twitter. Really understand what is interesting for your followers. Someone should hack together an application for that. I’ll ping @jessestay about this idea for SocialToo.

  13. alifr says:

    Good correlations, but maybe not applied to all people. For me there are two kind of more follower in twitter. Who gain more followers as a results of follows other people, technique used by spammers. And who gain followers by contribute on internet actively, by blogging, tweeting, commenting, and many others way.

  14. Hutch: Correlations will never be perfect, since the results are diffuse and happen directly and serendipitously, but I’d be surprised if there weren’t some signals in the noise.

  15. Pingback: Links and Things « Digital Learning 2.0

  16. Pingback: More Tweets = More Followers? « Daretoshare

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