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Is social media over-rated?

@xek tweeted that “Almost everyone who does twitter stats is a fucking moron”.

I was going to say that no one really knows what the hell is going on when it comes to social media, but I believe his estimate adds a greater level of precision.

For example, the tweet reach tool tells me that I reached 17,999 accounts with my tweets from my annmariastat account in the last five days. In contrast, my judo/ personal account reached 30,336 accounts. Does that mean that 18,000 or 30,000 people READ those tweets? I’m pretty certain not.

Ronda’s “reach” is 137,947 even though her number of followers is around 173,000. So I am interpreting this as the number of people you reached OUTSIDE of your followers.

This article says that there are 465 million twitter accounts and that 30% of twitter users have an income over $100,000. Wait, what? Because I know the average income in the US and it is far from $100,000. Maybe richer people have several twitter accounts. I know I have 2. Maybe Bill Gates has 10,000 – but wouldn’t he still just count as one twitter user?

Readwrite.com did have a little more data I could sink my teeth into. They said that 29% of tweets produce a reaction – a reply or retweet. This really surprised me because I had assumed it was far fewer.

7 Generations Game LogoI got interested in this because we have a Kickstarter campaign that just started to support our game to teach math. (Go here to watch the video and pledge. It’s awesome. And I know you have an internet connection because you are reading this.)

Here are how the first 33 pledges broke down, which is the first 10% of our funding – $2,000.

Between my two accounts, I have about 3,400 followers. My daughter, Ronda, has 173,000. We both tweeted about this a couple of times. Ignoring the tweet reach Total = 176,400 Number of pledges from twitter = 10 = 0.0006%

I write two blogs. This one averages about 3,100 visits a day and my judo blog is around 1,000. Total in one day I had the widget link up (look at right)

Number of pledges from blog = 3 = 0.073%

Both of us have our twitter accounts post to Facebook. She has 5,000 friends and I, defining friend loosely as someone I have met at least once, have more like 400 friends. Total = 5,400

Number of pledges from Facebook = 5 = 0.093%

Lastly, I emailed a few dozen or so people in my address book, as did my sister, total = 50.

Number of direct link pledges = 10 = 20%

That’s all for what I did. There were an extra five pledges from the Kickstarter site itself, people who looked for games or just clicked on the new projects link.

What can you conclude from this? Well, there is the obvious fact that the more people actually know you, the more likely they are to pledge. If you’re in my address book, we are probably friends or colleagues. Also, at my age, my friends and colleagues are likely to have a job, their kids are grown and they have extra money to pledge. (More about that in my Logan’s Run post later!)

Does that mean social media is useless? Yes and no. It means that your odds of getting funded just using social media probably aren’t  that good unless you have a whole lot of friends and followers. Certainly having someone in my corner with 173,000 followers was helpful – as many of them pledged as my friends did – so twitter followers were far less likely to pledge percentage-wise, but there were far more of them.

I do think that social media effects may be over-estimated. When I said I was doing this Kickstarter campaign some of my younger relatives were sure it would be over in a day, they said,

” Just have Ronda tweet it out once, she has over 170,000 followers. If every one of them gives $1 you’ll have made it several times over in a day.”

Ah, the naivete of youth! Now, our campaign just started two days ago, and I know that not as many people read my blog on the weekends (I do keep stats on that). There is also the fact that people on the east coast are buried in snow and have far more to worry about than a Kickstarter campaign of mine.

On the other hand, Ronda has a title fight in two weeks and a TV show on her aired a couple of times this week, so, as far as random events, there has been plenty of random in both directions.

What to make of this? Well, after seeing the numbers, I ran Faker, an application I found on this interesting article on fake twitter followers of athletes. It between Ronda and I we have 72,000 active accounts following us, not fake and actively tweeting. Still, only 10 of them pledged.

According to Blogher, only about half of the visitors to my blogs come to the site long enough for the ads to load, so some of those “visits” are spambots or just not very interested. That still  only brings the percent of pledges to .14% .

On seeing the numbers, I am coming  to think this way – you need both. And you need them over a period of time. I never did think one tweet was going to make our Kickstarter campaign. However, a couple of dozen tweets over a couple of dozen days, just might.



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