The headline first: what you’re seeing in the picture is not a hockey stick. It’s a cropped screenshot of my Philanthrophile’s wordpress dashboard on April 27. The day prior, I tweeted to my <10 followers that I had posted an article about a conference breakout session, using the hashtag for the conference. Philanthrophile is a blog for social media beginners, written by a pro bono consultant (volunteer?), so it doesn’t have a huge following. Before April 27, its busiest day attracted 40 views. On April 27, traffic spiked to 246 views. Therein lies a tale.
I signed up for Twitter on April 20, knowing that I was headed to NTEN.org’s Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco, where I knew half the action would take place on the Twitter channel.
Conference attendees like me used the conference hashtag in their tweets: #09NTC. (Some also joined a twibe, but that’s a topic for another time.) My post about the session, including the hashtag, was retweeted. So, people either saw the retweet through someone they follow, or searched on their Twitter homepage for the hashtag. Either way, a healthy number of them ended up checking out the post.
Though a mere speck in the Twitter universe (a universe that sent 12,000 tweets in an hour about swine flu, during the same period), I was struck by the speed that one little tweet triggered an effect. Questions are swirling this week about the value of Twitter in a marketing mix, given Nielsen Wire’s report that only 40% of Twitter users stick around after the first month. This small experience, and perhaps a well-informed gut, tells me that Twitter has a greater impact than standard tracking tools may show. A tweet literally ping-pongs across platforms. In fact, I saw and read this article about “The Intangibility of Twitter Results” due to a tweet from Maddie Grant (worth following, by the way: @maddiegrant).
Other results: thanks primarily to people re-tweeting and checking out Philanthrophile, I went from 4 followers to 27. Yet another speck in the Twitter universe, but I don’t follow people willy-nilly (who has time for that?) in the hopes they’ll follow me. RSS subscriptions to the blog went up, and people read a number of articles, not just the one they came in to see.
By the way, I wrote 9 observations about my first 24 hours on Twitter, which included the advice not to sign up right after a major celebrity signs on (as Oprah had).