Most things are ignored, actually.

A silly story from CNN: “Survey: 71 percent of tweets are ignored:”

Ever feel like you’re talking to a brick wall on Twitter? That might be because 71 percent of tweets get absolutely no response from the world. Toronto-based social media analytics company Sysomos scanned 1.2 billion messages that were sent in August and September 2009 to try and get some idea of the kind of conversations that are going on.

They discovered that more than seven in every 10 tweets sink without any kind of reaction from the world. Of the remainder, just 6 percent get retweeted, and 92 percent of those retweets occur within the first hour. Multiplying those probabilities together means that fewer than one in 200 messages get retweeted after an hour’s gone by. Essentially, once that hour’s up, your message is ancient history. That leaves 23 percent of messages that get an @reply. Drilling down, Sysomos found that 85 percent of replied-to messages get just one reply, 10.7 percent get two, and just 1.53 percent get three replies. Similarly to retweets, 96.9 percent of @replies are posted within an hour of the original tweet.

It’s not clear how the company treated messages that were both replied-to and retweeted. The company also commissioned an animated visualization of the data. In this video, the spiral represents time, with the size of the blue dot representing the number of retweets and replies to that tweet. Following one dot over time, you should see it slowly grow as it gets replied-to and retweeted.

Does everything one writes demand a response?  By the way, the amount of people who read philosophy articles in journals is minimal to begin with, I don’t know how many people demand responses.  In fact, I read somewhere that most articles are cited 1.5 times (usually by the same person).  Yes, I know that social media is supposed to bring people together (whatever that means), and I’ve had lots of interesting interactions/conversations on the blog and on Twitter, but I don’t feel like everything I tweet necessitates a response.  Aside from my neurotic ramblings, many of my “tweets” are bookmarks, citations, and reminders for me to come back to later and it’s my hope that others will find the link interesting.  I don’t know why everything has to be reduced to some sort of utility, that’s all.

70 thoughts on “Most things are ignored, actually.

    • Actually what my friends and I use it for is to keep in touch with a “sphere” of people. we constantly bounce ideas off of each other. I haven’t met most of them being as they are around the world. but i have yet to find a better alternative to brainstorming in person. it makes sense that twitter was created for this purpose. thought i feel that celebrities that made it popular set the standard for everyone to follow. namely with the self important tweets and whatnot.

  1. Most bloggers are pretty much talking to themselves – myself included.

    Also, just because someone doesn’t reply doesn’t mean no one is paying attention. I cannot tell whether or not people who check out my page are actually reading indepth what I write all the time, but I’m sure many are.


    • wadingacross, that is so true. Just think about how many articles we read without leaving behind a comment or emailing the author.

      At the end of the day, blogging or tweeting is like masturbating behind a tinted window. Just think about it.

    • That’s how it is with me, as well.

      There are days when I get no comments but like 200 visitors, and then there are days when I get like 30 comments and visitors.

      Not everyone has the time or the energy to post to every little thing I post. Not even the controversial stuff I write. And about 60% of those comments aren’t even worth allowing, since all they do is insult me and my readers.

      Social media’s main function, by the way, is not to engage conversations, but start online communities. I can’t remember which of my sociology professors said that, but I think a lot of social media is merely pointless in the long run.

  2. I think everyone who tweets does it because they want some sort of response. If they get no response they likely won’t tweet. If nobody ever comments on your blog…will you keep writing? No response likely means people aren’t reading. If people are reading and not responding that means people may not find it that interesting or thought-provoking…thus you would probably not want to write anymore. Twitter is for people that want to feel important…therefore…they need responses to vindicate their importance. This was interesting…thanks for posting!

    • I suppose I must be the exception to the rule – or the few like myself. I turn my comments off. I’m not interested in the social aspect nor keeping up with them. Sure, I know a lot of people who do it for the comments, too, and like that part. I can appreciate it, even understand, but I’d keep writing if nobody ever read it again. For all I know nobody may BE reading it, but that doesn’t bother me. Keeping a blog is fun for me, so is writing, therefore I do it with or without an audience.

      I’d probably make a rotten tweet-er. 🙂

  3. My blog probably gets more visits from bots than actual people. But a few people stumble by, and find things interesting. But, like most of us, I blog mostly for myself as a personal project. If I provide something interesting for someone else to read – great. If not – oh well, at least I learned something while writing it. I am not sure people view twitter the same way, though.

  4. Interesting. And disheartening. But interesting, nonetheless.

    It reminds me, however, of when I worked in radio. I remember my program director telling me that I would get calls for requests from only about .05% of my actual listeners, so don’t get discouraged if the lights on the board don’t light up. But I did get discouraged. Because no lights = no listeners, in my young dj mind.

    So now, as a blogger, I apply the lessons learned as a dj. Do no comments = no readers? Nope…just that I’ve stunned them into silence with my wit and eloquence. Right…

    Or maybe I just have no readers. Who knows? 😉

  5. Expecting responses is more ego than anything. If a person likes to write and does so just to express themselves they really don’t need that “approval” from the blurred masses.

    I generally only comment when I see fit to. Jumping on the bandwagon or replying just to hear yourself talk is just as bad as demanding a response. I’m glad you touched upon this subject.

  6. IMO Twitter will eventually die as fast as it became big. It’s even more ridiculous and useless than Facebook. Something new will overtake it, but until then it’s unfortunately contributed to creating a generation of one second ‘attention spanners’ craving instant satisfaction.

    It’s good for one thing- have your PC’s and network admin tools set up to tweet their status, uptime, system load etc. periodically so you can keep track of them from anywhere. Of course these don’t get a response.

  7. Pingback: Most things are ignored, actually. (via Perverse Egalitarianism) « ((backstage_spotlight))

  8. Time and again I am asked if I have a twitter for my blog. I say no and that person disappears. Should I get a twitter if I want more visitors and responses to my blog? After reading this, I just don’t know. Good food for thought and congrats in getting freshly pressed.

  9. Maybe CNN should have covered the responses that internet activist sites like actually impact legislation. I already know that most of my tweets aren’t retweeted, but thanks.

  10. I absolutely love a good story. I love meeting new people. There’s a sense of adventure when you sit down to chat with someone in a coffee shop or online.

    Think of all the people you pass each day without making a connection.

    I’m thankful for the few times when people take time to notice and to say hello. 🙂

    It’s kind of serendipitous when people notice the tweets or the blog, kind of adventurous, don’t you think?

  11. Man, talk about irony here – a post about how no one’s paying attention is all the rage on the internets! Next thing you know my students will be tweeting about it and telling me about this awesome new blog they discovered!

    Way to go, Shahar!

  12. Human beings have a need to communicate. We communicate through spoken language, writing, art, etc.

    That’s why there are such sites as facebook and Twitter. People put stuff out there because they want a response – nobody would open an account if they thought it would never be seen.

    But Twitter is different than facebook. Facebook is much more social than Twitter. Twitter reminds me of a child texting its mom to let her know she’s ok. It doesn’t invite the level of social interaction that facebook does…

  13. What is even more fascinating to me is that so many commenters on this post are unfamiliar to me (guess I don’t know all my fellow Perv Egal fans after all).

    Blogs= Radio
    Twitter= TV (I think I will start calling it Tvitter)

    (my lame pseudo-McLuhan take on this).

  14. Pingback: public writing « Random Act of Grace

  15. Maybe the society just gets what it deserves! Tweet’s are just like dust in the bloggos-sphere! And you never know who is behind the picture which makes it an anonymous dust production! However, dust is important to form clouds and rain which will finally wash the dust away. So if Twitter is the dust-producer who is the rainmaker? I think it’s MyTree.TV
    At least we try to filter some dust away and maybe you can see some things more clear if you read the TREEmagazine for people who care.
    PS: This is not spam. But it would be cool if someone from here could drop me a line in one of our posts.

  16. I feel this way. I don’t mind it much but i agree that most of my tweets don’t get a response. This isn’t Facebook where people can simply press “Like this” or comment on your pictures. These are your thoughts that you want to proclaim and share. Is a response supposed to mean approval? to some maybe. Even a negative response would at least confirm acknowledgement. don’t get me wrong it is always nice to have someone respond but the reason I left Facebook and connected through Twitter was because of the “less” factor. I don’t need the attention but I do need the awareness and I get that through my fellow tweeters who pump out all kinds of info regarding music, news, or just random thoughts. I like to share those same things too. I’d say although the response level is low…the retention of information that starts up other ideas and gets the flow moving is high.

    Great post, good info, and thanks for bring this up. Congrats for being Freshly pressed 🙂

  17. I get some social media, but I really don’t get or like twitter. People sending random thoughts and updates about what they are doing really just doesn’t interest me. I do have a twitter account by I really never log into. I ad things to it via WordPress, Facebook, or, but other than that I don’t really have any contact with it. I find it rather boring really. And as far as a marketing standpoint and my SEO tactics I have found other sites more useful and results originated.

  18. the responses to this post is enough to tell if posts get attention or not…

    but anyway sometimes people just get the need to talk…doesn’t even need a reply….daily small things that wouldn’t even open a discussion but needs to get out in the public or just got the need of attention at that moment..

  19. This comes as no surprise to me. In fact, based on the usefulness and quality of most tweets more like 99% of them should be ignored.

    But as a practical matter, I think Twitter will collapse of its own weight. There is just too much going to be able to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

  20. I blog and tweet not to actually seek attention (well maybe just a little) but for most part I consider these things as outlets. Whether somebody comments, reacts or sees it or doesn’t it doesn’t matter. It does make it more colorful if somebody comments or reacts but what’s more important for me is I have vented out my feelings and what’s on my mind.

  21. Considering that most things twittered are garbage in the first place, the results seem reasonable: More value–more response. Less value–less response.

    I would like to emphasize the need to write for oneself, however: If the positive effects from the act of writing, in and by itself, is not enough then something is wrong. Gaining a readership, receiving feedback, whatnot, is the icing on the cake—not the cake itself. (Exceptions for those who write professionally.)

    • yes, it is so. However, most of us us twitter, And to tell hte truth, most of people in world use such things. If we can not accept, then what we can do is to change. And if we can not change, then we can only adapt.

  22. And yet, the pressure to join these sites is palpable. My short experience with Twitter and Facebook has been immensely unsatisfying. Deactivated my Facebook account a while ago and am seriously considering doing the same with Twitter – almost did, but the bot shamed me into staying! Ugh. I have discovered a few interesting artists by spending time on Twitter, although there are many other ways to do that. Give me about another two weeks and I’ll probably be tweeting my farewell.

    • I’m also amazed at the pressure to participate in social networking sites. I deactivated my Facebook going on two weeks ago, and whenever I tell people they act like I am telling them that I’ve decided to never drink water again! Some people have even seemed offended.

      The dependence so many people have on these websites is so bizarre to me, and I think they really take away from our personal, human interactions with others. Stay strong!

      • Thats totally why I left Facebook because people become dependent and i didnt want all my relationships to revolve around facebook. Plus I totally see how it makes people’s people skills suck even more. I made a twitter because it’s simple, you can’t show off much. Also, celebrities, politicians, writers, and comedians use it because the settings on twitter allow for people to follow you but you dont have to follow them nor can you receive private messages from people you are not following. So compared to Facebook this works better for celebrities. and thats why we see them being quoted from their twitter all the time because it’s simple to use and straight forward with no grey area. I don’t know why everyone bashes Twitter. People who use it and don’t abuse it have made twitter very enjoyable for me.

  23. I have seen twitter work amazingly well with city hall meetings being tweeted by all parties on one hashtag thread – it was like sports or a video game and really, really surprised me. On the other hand 90% of my time on Twitter seems unproductive, unless I assume there is someone out there just lovin’ my links, or who identifies when I say I have a cold, lol. Despite seeing the potential, my enthusiasm is on the wane, primarily because it just seems like there is only a dim hope of any kind of a payoff compared to actually reading hundreds if not thousands of completely irrelevant tweets on a daily basis. I cannot imagine following 1000 people and pretending that I am paying attention.

  24. I do feel quilty sometimes NOT responding… and thats same goests to blog posts, facebook status etc. But we all seem to be on so many mediums all the time (or is it just me?) that for example, I have had to scale down and I’ve recently completely abandoned my twitter. I do still sometimes wistfully wonder what Elizabeth Taylor has been up to…. ;o)

  25. I often find that when using ‘social media’ such as twitter, facebook, blog that often no one will comment, retweet, reply etc but next time I talk to them online, phone or in person often they will ask me about something that I have posted. Its not that they haven’t noticed or read it, they just didn’t feel any need to respond.
    Which is what I do. I read quite a few blogs, I check facebook frequently and twitter occasional and probably respond to about 10% of these, why? because most of the time I don’t have an interesting reply. Its like having a conversation and sometimes you non and agree, or mmmm, or ahuh, or all those other meaningless sounds and things we say to show that we are listening.
    If in a conversation we don’t have to respond to everything someone says why should we have to on anything else?

  26. I think the problem is that Twitter is being used by many spammers. For a long time I didn’t even check my messages becomes I didn’t think anyone would write something “real”. Most messages contain: “check out my site / blog”, or “let me show you how to make money from twitter” or “I got 1000 new followers a day”.

    I now use tweetdeck, which makes it easier for me to block people. Also report spam – Everyone should do so.

    Best regards,

  27. Even though I struggle with Twitter for personal use, I do think it has utility. The power of twitter for social good is there, I think. For example, messages coming from an organization, like CDC, aren’t as powerful and viral, perhaps, as the ones that come from other twitter folks that pick it up. I work in public health and I’m still convinced that people working in this field haven’t used it to its full power potential. Get one person talking about where smokers can get help to quit and that tweet can, and often does, expand the organization’s sphere of influence. It’s about starting conversations, not about being the center of them. That goes for personal use of Twitter, as well.

    See? I’ve talked myself into a circle!

  28. Yeah, I figured that out about a month after joining Twitter. You’re basically talking to yourself. When and IF you do get a reply, it’s usually about 45 minutes AFTER the tweet and you’ve missed it. Twitter is a toy for me. I use it to tweet my blog or item I’m selling. Other than that it’s just a way to keep up on news and life. Interesting how we’re all interested in knowing what other strangers are doing.

  29. Yes, but if one has 4000 followers on Twitter, it would be fantastic if 6% of them read any given tweet. That would be 240 people. Remember as well that many of a person’s followers are spammers whom the person lets follow because it makes them look more popular.

    Now in reality, I expect a 3% readership for each tweet. I wrote 5 tweets today that said something similar (they had the basic message but came at it from a different angle). If I got anywhere from 10-15% of my readers to get that message, I was doing very, very well. That would be over 400 people.

    I tweeted in an off-hour which means I don’t expect more than 160 people saw anything I wrote today. That’s still damned good.

  30. As a writer and self-proclaimed voice of reason (not really), I’ve not been able to ‘get-with’ the Twitter. What is tweeting really anyway?

    As if writing a blog or poem or work of literature and then having an author’s audacity to publish it publicly isn’t self-indulging enough, to tweet the minutia of one’s life and then demanding a response is really, really conceited.

    We writers have enough internal conflict — while we claim writing helps to find ourselves or our path, would any of us still write if we knew there was no one to read?

    Seems to me 71% of tweets ignored is just too low…

  31. Pingback: Facebook: Just like all the worst parts of this woman’s past relationships « Snoring Dog Studio

  32. Pingback: What did I just read?? « Fkn Excuses

  33. Actually, I’m a recent twitter convert. I don’t really expect most of my tweets to get a reply: about half of them are for the 6 people on twitter that actually care what’s going on in my life and get some kind of offline response, and about half of them are for people who might be interested in something I read or wrote. Certainly my blog traffic has gone up since I started participating in a couple of twitter circles, and since I would *kind of* like people to read my writing, it seems to be a good way to get that to happen.

    I also use it as a news aggregator, of sorts by following the people who have time/jobs that ask them to tweet things I’m likely to be interested in. I never reply to those tweets either.

    It’s more like a mindstream; we don’t follow every thought that pops into our heads, but it doesn’t mean that the unfollowed thoughts didn’t matter.

  34. Great post and congrats! I every now and then get someone fropm twitter look at my blog, but when this happens I check to see if the moon is turning to blood.

  35. I don’t do Twitter. In my POV, it’s like for Hollywood and local showbiz stars only, for them to update their fans and stalkers what they’ve been doing. Though I’ve seen accounts wherein they use Twitter as if it’s messenger. 🙂

    This was nice to know and share though. 🙂

  36. Social media, is for a feedback response. But if that is the sole reliance of ur social life, then wt the heck is going on ?!! Whatever happened to proper social face-to-face talk ?!! N who needs thousands of opinions anyways!! You tweet coz’ you feel strongly about t, not coz’ you wanna be heard !!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s