How useful is twitter for academics, really?
Good post on how Twitter isn’t that effective in increasing readership of a journal article, though I think if a tweet does go viral, the conversion rate is bound to be lower than if 50 people actively engage with it. I would read at least the abstract of about %75 of the posts I retweet – otherwise, why bother retweeting it? To show an interest in the issue, that I can’t be bothered to read more about?
I think the author of the original tweet and journal paper is also important – if it’s an author you have previously read and liked (or an organisation that you actively support), surely it’s more likely to encourage the click-through than just, well, a ‘clickbait’ title?
Yep, maybe I’m deluded on that, which is why Buzzfeed and the like are so popular these days (21 Reasons Why Prawns Are Delicious) and true academic publication (The stochastic and comprehensively bland approach to garbage disposal literature) is not.
Recently I was intrigued by a post on twitter conversion rates (e.g. the likelihood that a view on your tweet results in a click on the link) by journalist Derek Thompson at the Atlantic. Derek writes that although using twitter gives him great joy, he’s not sure it results in the kinds of readership his employers would feel merits the time spent on the service. Derek found that even his most viral tweets only resulted in a conversion rate of about 3% – on par with the click-through rate of east asian display ads (i.e. quite poorly in the media world). Using the recently released twitter metrics, Derek found an average conversion of around 1.5% with the best posts hitting the 3% ceiling. Ultimately he concludes that twitter seems to be great at generating buzz within the twitter-sphere but performs poorly at translating that buzz into external influence.
This struck my curiosity…
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