What happens to your Twitter followers when you change jobs?

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Twitter has been around long enough for some regular Twitterers to have changed jobs. If so, what happens to your Twitter followers when you change jobs?

Do all those who once followed you for your insights on one particular subject stick with you if your new job is in a different area? Or can you build up sufficient rapport with your followers so that they stick with you because of the quality of your conversation with your Twitter community? Or do they just follow so many people, the odd irrelevant one really does not matter?

I’ve asked Adrian Monck, Daniel Pearce and Edward Welsh, who’ve changed jobs recently, what happened to their followers. All three appear to think pretty much the same: as long as your Tweets are of sufficient interest and your approach to followers is not too self-conscious, followers remain remarkably loyal.

And if you’ve changed your job recently, do answer the questions yourself. There are instructions at the end of this post.

Adrian Monck is Managing Director, Communications and Media, for the World Economic Forum, the organisation which brings world leaders together to “shape global, regional and industry agendas”.

Previously he was Professor of Journalism at City University, London (see his Linkedin profile).

He Tweets @amonck.

When did you start Tweeting?

Twice. First time I just didn’t get it and gave up. 2nd time was in 2008, and since then I haven’t really stopped – which is terrible for my ratios.

How many followers did you have just before you changed jobs

I’d love to say I took notice but I didn’t really… and moving to an organisation with 1.5m followers, it all seemed like small beer. Besides, I never really pursued a follower strategy for my personal account beyond reciprocity with people who seemed real.

Did the followers belong to a defined community and, if so, what?

Couldn’t say. Mine are all sorts. Journos, media types of all shapes and sizes, and since I was followed by Michelle Malkin I get some rather wacky US conservatives. What they hope to find, goodness only knows – but life’s rich tapestry etc.

Has the subject of your Tweets changed since you changed jobs?

I have less time, so they’re a little less diverse. I’m mainly a link tweeter which makes me an anti-social social networker…

Did you change the people you followed and, if so, by what percentage?

Sorry didn’t do the math or maths…

Did you see any fall off in the number of your followers when you changed job?

Modest increases but probably percentage growth in my followers lower than twitter as a whole.

If not, why do you think it is that your original community still follows you?

It’s not really a community, more a pond. I just float on the surface with the rest of the erm… let’s call us “pond-life”!

Daniel Pearce is the editor of Travel Trade Gazette (TTG), a weekly newspaper for the UK travel industry. Previously he was managing editor of The Publican, a weekly newspaper for the UK pub and drinks industry (see his Linkedin profile).

He Tweets @DanielPearce.

When did you start Tweeting?

15 June, 2007. I was managing editor of the Publican, a business-to-business magazine for the licensed UK pub and drinks industry. After the first initial Tweet or two, I did not think I had time for such “frivolities”.

It took some cajoling at the beginning of 2009 to realise the full extent of the opportunity and to start Tweeting in earnest.

How many followers did you have just before you changed jobs?

I had 550 followers from across the pub and drinks industry, as well as some media followers (all professional, no friends – that’s not what Twitter is about for me).

Did the followers belong to a defined community and, if so, what?

Followers from across the pub and drinks industry, as well as some media followers (no friends – that’s not what Twitter is about for me).

Has the subject of your Tweets changed since you changed jobs?

Yes, I was mainly commenting on pubs and drinks, linking followers through to stories on thepublican.com. Now I mainly comment on travel issues and link to ttglive.com.

Did you change the people you followed and, if so, by what percentage?

I spent an evening, before I started the new job, going through the people I was following in the drinks and pub world and assiduously unfollowing them. I then, as assiduously, started following people in the travel industry.

Did you see any fall off in the number of your followers when you changed job?

I kept almost all my followers in the pub and drinks world and then gained a whole lot of new followers from the travel industry brining me up to 960 followers.

If not, why do you think it is that your original community still follows you?

I’ve always peppered the professional stuff with personal comments about my day and opinions on general stuff (ie the recent UK election). It’s not just a ‘hard sell’ of my professional life. And I think this sort of engaging content is the reason that I have held on to just about every one of my followers.

Edward Welsh is the Director of Corporate Affairs at the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), the body which represents train operating companies in the UK. Previously he was programme director, media and campaigns, at the Local Government Association (see his Linkedin profile). Edward wrote about his experience of Tweeting in a guest post on this blog.

He Tweets @EdwardWelsh.

When did you start Tweeting?

2 December, 2008.

How many followers did you have just before you changed jobs

About 420.

Did the followers belong to a defined community and, if so, what?

Most were people involved in local government politics, journalists and other PR people.

Has the subject of your Tweets changed since you changed jobs?

Yes, because I have switched from local government to the railways. But many of the Tweets are similar (i.e. chronicling my visits to the BBC to accompany my chief executive for an interview on the Today programme).

Did you change the people you followed and, if so, by what percentage?

I have gradually reduced the number of people who I follow from local government but probably by only around 20%.

Did you see any fall off in the number of your followers when you changed job?

To my surprise, no.

If not, why do you think it is that your original community still follows you?

I hope that they continue to follow me because, while my core subject matter is about the railways and my organisation, I Tweet about many other issues which they consider interesting.

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AND WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you changed your job recently? Do you Tweet? Copy and paste the questions below into the comment section of this post and let others know you experience.

When did you start Tweeting?

How many followers did you have just before you changed jobs

Did the followers belong to a defined community and, if so, what?

Has the subject of your Tweets changed since you changed jobs?

Did you change the people you followed and, if so, by what percentage?

Did you see any fall off in the number of your followers when you changed job?

If not, why do you think it is that your original community still follows you?

Illustration: NodeXL Twitter Network Graphs: Social CRM by Marc_Smith.

The top ten posts of 2009 from These Digital Times

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Here are the top ten posts of 2009 from These Digital Times. Twitter and social media dominate – not at all surprising for a blog in this area.

So what does the traffic tell us?

  1. The two blog posts about Twitter in the top ten make up just under 10 per cent of the entire year’s traffic.
  2. The top five posts represent just over 25 per cent of the entire year’s traffic while
  3. the top ten posts represent 40 per cent of the entire year’s traffic.
  4. All but ten of the 238 posts on this blog were looked at during 2009 although
  5. the least popular 20 posts only managed 30 views in all, the bottom nine posts only one view each.
  6. Three of the posts (if you include “About John Welsh”) date back to 2008, hammering home the point that people’s use of the web is blind to date but keen on relevance.
  7. Only two of the posts predate the moment when These Digital Times found its voice providing lists for those acquiring skills in social media, and even one of those (“What should a well design website look like”) can be seen as a list.
  8. Only one post (Tennis player Andy Murray’s Twitter goes dead!”) dates back to a time when I just used this blog to comment on what else was around. Little surprise that it is a famous tennis player’s name that keeps this post there.
  9. Look how high up “About John Welsh” is in the list. It reminds you not to neglect an often overlooked element of a blog.

So the traffic follows the classic Pareto Distribution, a phrase used in economics to describe the typical distribution of wealth. This suggests that the wealthiest person in any town or country is likely to be twice as wealthy as the second most wealthy person who, in turn, is likely to be twice as wealthy as the third most wealthy person and so on. Such distribution, plotted on a graph, is a steep curve away from the vertical axis then continuing almost parallel to the horizontal.

It is a distribution often seen in social media and digital. The activity of the most active member of any community, for example, is likely to be twice as much as the next most active and so on. And think also about something like Amazon where the most popular book is twice as popular as the second and so on.

I’m rather chuffed that These Digital Times follows this pattern.

What is the quality of the conversation you are having with your Twitter community?

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mouth1I used to be obsessed with how Twitter can help you to develop skills to cultivate a community.

Then I became fixated with people to follow on Twitter.

Next I morphed my interest into types of Tweets if you Twitter every day.

Now it is the quality of the conversation I am having with my Twitter community that absorbs me.

What do I mean exactly? I keep on eye on my Twitter profile feed. But I am also transfixed by my Twitter Search Feed. I open it each day, type in “johnwelsh” and see what happens. 

Don’t get me wrong. I am not doing it to see if I myself am mentioned. I am doing it to see whether my Twitters are part of a conversation with my community, that is

  • are my Tweets being reTweeted?
  • are individuals in my Twitter community addressing me publicly but directly with @replies?
  • is my Twitter community answering questions that I ask?

Take a look now at my Twitter Search. I hope it is not just my face filling the page, that my own Tweets are interwoven with other people’s Tweets. Of course there’s a risk that it will all be me. 

So I set myself a tough task. If my face begins to fill a whole page on the Twitter Search Feed with not another human being in sight, I feel under pressure. How can I shift the nature of my Tweets to ensure I am conversing with my Twitter community and not just broadcasting to it.

What happens when you put your Twitter profile name through Twitter Search? What is the quality of the conversation you are having with your Twitter community?

Photo credit: Phineas H

Guest post: how quickly can someone from a traditional media background exploit Twitter?

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picture-81I asked once whether early adopters in social media were ready for the arrival of a new wave of competitors. I predicted that, if they had traditional media experience, they would be quick learners and, if they worked within defined communities, that their followers would grow rapidly.

 Today’s guest post is by Edward Welsh  Programme Director, Media and Campaigns, at the UK’s Local Government Association. He has years of traditional media experience – having worked on national papers in the UK (disclosure: my brother). His current job places him in the midst of a defined community – communication experts working for government.

He set up a Twitter in December 2008. Two months later, his hashtag for a conference trended number three on Twitter Search. Not a bad learning curve.

This is his story.

My main audience is the 60 million people who live in the UK. I am responsible for enhancing and defending the reputation in the mass media of a sector with a budget of more than £100 billion a year, 20,000 councillors and which employs 1.6 million people. The LGA targets national newspapers, television and radio, proactively generating stories and rebutting negative coverage to influence the news agenda on behalf of more than 400 councils in England and Wales.

Why do I use Twitter? 

1. To respond to a challenge from John Welsh (my brother and the man behind this blog) to familiarise myself with social media.

2. To see if and how news stories can be generated through Twitter.

3. To find out how councillors and councils are using Twitter.

4. To improve communications with our member councils.

5. To find out how private sector PR people are using Twitter.

What have I found out so far?

1 My brother was right. I needed to get up to speed. The following explains why.

2. I have not yet cracked how to generate news stories on Twitter but

3. Twitter is suddenly taking off in local government, admittedly from a very low base. The number of councillors Twittering has doubled in the past fortnight to 100 and growing. Perhaps 40 or 50 councils are using it, most recently to keep residents informed about how the heavy snowfalls have affected services.

4. Twitter could be a very useful way of complementing how we communicate with our member councils and, even more importantly, garner their views to feed back into what we do.

5. I have yet to work out exactly how private sector PR people are using Twitter. Clearly, they see it as a marketing tool but I need to explore further how their use could shape mine. 

I’ll update you when I know more.

Photo credit: jurvetson

Guest post: what you should do if your Twitter profile is going nowhere quickly

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Ruth Galpine, a marketer on one of our exhibitions TFM&A, had set up a Twitter account but it was evidently not thriving (disclosure: my colleague). So we asked ourselves six questions of her Twitter activity. Within days, leading people in her community were reTweeting her Tweets

This is her story. 

We decided to start using Twitter as an additional “channel to market” for our forthcoming exhibition. With little previous experience of social media marketing or of Twitter, it started as a learn-as-you-go immersion. And, as we discovered, full of the classic social media ‘marketing’ blunders!

At first we naively saw Twitter as an additional marketing channel through which to push our event messages. Our initial Tweets were dry snippets of information about the show. All was good, we thought, as our initial followers were people already on our show database. But we didn’t seem to be getting any viral growth.

“Why not?” we thought.

“How can we get more reach into Twitter; how can we build a community and how can we encourage them to push TFM&A to their communities?” So we went through the following process. Why don’t you try it?

1 Have you asked yourself “what is your community”?

Our initial assumption on our community was that it was “anyone who is interested in TFM&A”.

Hmm, that’s not really a community, is it? TFM&A has a diverse range of audience groups within its attendees and any one of them is a community. We chose to focus on the marketers who would be interested in the show, and within them, those with an interest in social media. After all, they were more than likely to be on Twitter already!

2 Have you done research so that you do not overlook the social network the community is already in?

We hadn’t had time to do much research into this. So we went with our intuition and reckoned that social media marketers were more likely to be already on or interested in Twitter than your average person.

So that was that! A quick look at our followers on Twitter Sheep just 2 weeks later reassured us our assumption was a good one!

3 Have you been listening to the conversation in your community? 

Again, we hadn’t been doing enough of this but now we have, we know how invaluable it is!

A few quick look-ups on Twitter Search showed us a wealth of “chatter” about our show – from exhibitors discussing what they were doing at the show; potential visitors asking if each other would be there; plus people asking us questions on what was at the show. Great – now that we knew who was talking about us, we could join in the conversations!

4 Have you been sending out only Tweets pushing the brand?

Yes, we had… guilty again!

We read John’s post on his blog – Six types of Tweets if you Twitter every day. We also realised that the TFM&A website already boasts a social media news feed of real value to our community. We realised we could send out Tweets linking to that. And, it worked! Three reTweets from just the first few Tweets.

We had finally gone viral!

5 Have you set up a hash tag identifier?

A what? A hash tag identifier is a short word or acronym that you attach to every Tweet you make – you encourage those tweeting about you and re-tweeting you to use it, helping you to track ‘chatter’ on Twitter Search.

We went with #tfma but people were using TFM&A as well – that is what the show is commonly named. Having both enables us to cover our bases.

6 Have you thought how you will assess your effectiveness?

A quick five-minute check each morning on Twitter Search and typing in our show keywords – TFM&A, tfma_event and #tfma – and we can see the increasing growth of the TFMA Twitter in our community. 

See how well TFMA is doing in real time.

Do you have a story about how you have changed your use of Twitter?

Photo credit: Dappers

A list of UK bloggers and Twitterers who are beginning to rival their US peers for my attention

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uk-us-flagsSix months ago, my daily fix of blogs and Twitters originated in the US or Canada Whether it was Jeremiah Owyang, Jay Rosen or Mark Potts, their posts and Tweets provided me with a swift and fascinating education in both new and social media. 

But I have noticed how my RSS subscriptions have begun to change. My list, once dominated by US and Canadian bloggers and Twitterers, is increasingly peppered with UK and Irish ones. 

There have always been good UK and Irish bloggers on new or social media. But some of those attracting my attention have appeared only during 2008 or, even more recently, 2009. Some are former journalists and media executives turning their hand to blogging for the first time, the new wave I predicted late last year.

Here is a list of US/Canadian bloggers and Twitterers I admire and their UK/Irish equivalents

Comparisons of online media

Why not try out Martin Belam’s Currybet with its equally ambitious and detailed comparisons. Just last week the UK’s Bellam kicked off a four part series contrasting the navigation on UK national papers.

The future of newspapers

  • Jay Rosen, New York University’s maverick professor of journalism, cannot be bettered for Tweets which question the role of journalism in this digital age. Follow and learn. 

Back in the UK (although from the US himself) is uberactive Ben LaMothe who fills the Twittersphere with breaking news about the US and UK news industry.   

Analysis of B2B magazines

  • Paul Conleyhas led the tiny B2B community of bloggers for years with his detailed analysis of the US sector’s failings and finality.

In the UK Rory Brown, previously of Incisive, launched his blog late last year and  Neil Thackray, formerly Quantum and Nexus, kicked his off only a fortnight ago. Both write with the confidence of years at the top empowering them to raise issues that were once swept under the carpet.  

Short, sharp lessons in writing posts

  • The US writer Seth Godinisn’t inspirational just for his opinions. His writing also motivates you to improve your own style and his counterintuitive opinions challenge your own views.

Gloucestershire-born Richard Millington (although now temporarily locate in the Baltic States) only started Feverbeelast year. But his posts show a rare focus and his writing style evokes the minimalism of Godin (the UK blogger did an internship with the US guru). Is this the UK’s future Godin? 

What about local papers?

  • The Media Managerby Kirk LaPointe, also editor of the Vancouver Sun, is essential reading for any journalist in north America who wants to keep up to speed with rapid changes in the industry. His output is phenomenal with around 25 posts a week.

We now have our own LaPointe in Jon Slattery, the former deputy editor of Press Gazette. Jon’s blog covers so much of the J-news in the UK that one blogger has already questioned whether he needs to read both Jon and the Press Gazette.

How technology impacts on life

Jemima Kiss is an equally tough technology thinker but pours her views and opinions into MediaGuardian and her Twitter

The entrepreneurs/ start-ups 

  • The US has Kevin Rose, owner of Digg, a celebrity on Twitter, a very visual blog and a liver of life.

 We have Paul Walsh, founder of Segala – and yet to be launched Wubud. Walsh also boasts a popular blog, a vast number of Twitter followers and a great line in meet-ups. 

Are there any other bloggers or Twitterers that you would add to the list?

If you think your followers/community on Twitter would be interested in this post, show them your value by reTweeting it to them!

Photo credit: Anthony Mayfield

 

A list of counterintuitive behaviour that will improve your use of the web

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counterintuitive-oneTraditional media people – journalists, marketers, editors – are just like other professionals. They do the same things in print and via emails year after year because of intuition.

Success came about by

  • hoarding the content
  • broadcasting to the users
  • expecting a response
  • trying to please everyone
  • assuming everything was read
  • not engaging with the competitors

The more you get to use the web, the more you realise it works the opposite way.

Can you think of  other web behaviour that is counterintuitive?

If you think your followers/community on Twitter would be interested in this post, show them your value by reTweeting it to them!

Photo credit: Payton Chung