When I graphed my 100 most popular tweets by clicks (chart one below) and participation (chart two), the result is a jagged mess. Many of my participated tweets barely created any clicks. Readers treated the URL from the tweet for a footnote. Some tweets, you may say, are “too good to click”: They provide such a complete story that it leaves no interested itch.
There was a vague sense that Twitter drives visitors, and traffic pushes renown (or fame, or pride, or whatever phrase defines the psychic benefit of public awareness). Instead, the reality is that Twitter can induce 1 sort of renown (there are a few men and women that are Twitter-famous), and visitors affords a distinct psychic currency. But they’re nearly independent variables.
I told him I had created something which 150,000 people had seen, 9,000 people had socialized with, and only 1,500 had followed to our website to really read. (So, 99 percent of my work on Twitter went to Twitter, and one percent went to The Atlantic. That’s not an excellent deal for our boss!) It was, I told Rob, like Twitter had built a characteristic demonstrating how much people were dismissing its power users.
It’s reasonable to come away from such metrics believing that Twitter is useless. But that is an unsophisticated conclusion. The more complicated takeaway is that Twitter is worthless for the limited purpose of driving traffic to your site, because Twitter isn’t a portal for inbound links, but instead a homepage for self-contained images and observations. (The irony is that the more journalists believe Twitter a portal site, the greater Twitter becomes a home for others to remain, including other journalists.)
Two weeks ago, John Herrman observed that as viewers’ digital focus scatters to Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, publishers will admit that their sites are anachronisms. It’s tough to say that this is occurring today.Most major sites are seeing growing traffic. However there are only so many hours you can look at a display each day. More of these hours are likely to mobile devices. An increasing share of these hours (and their corresponding bucks) are likely to communications programs, like Twitter. And, by my calculations, Twitter is sending less than 2% of its general engagement back to the internet. Apps do not pay my rent.