3 ways to fish the Twitter stream
Posted March 24, 2015on:
Twitter is like a rapidly flowing stream of consciousness. Follow more people or engage in an exciting chat and your Twitter timeline might look like a torrent.
Thankfully there are ways to take the occasional snapshot and to catch a few fish so that you can get a sense of what is going on. I briefly describe three tools and strategies.
Storify allows you to archive and tell a story of, say, a Twitter-based chat. To the uninitiated, a Twitter chat can be disorienting because the chat is not threaded, the @handle replies easily lose context, and the conversation appears in reverse chronological order. Storify is a good way consolidate a chat.
Here is an example of the affordances of Storify based on a chat on self-directed learning that #edsg had six months ago. In the example, I illustrate how to use forward chronology, chunking, and commenting to add value to an archive.
Twitter analytics used to be available only to corporate or paying customers. Now everyone on Twitter has access to their own dashboard. Now everyone can see how much (or more likely, how little) reach or impact they have!
Instead focusing on how each and every tweet is doing, you might be more interested in where your followers are from. Assuming you have authentic followers, you can click on the “followers” section of the Twitter analytics dashboard to see this. I did this when prompted after an #NT2t question a few weeks ago.
I discovered that about a third of my followers were from Singapore, followed by the USA, Australia, UK, and everywhere else. About 60% of my followers were interested in education-related news, which is great as that is what I mostly tweet about.
I amplify my blog reflections by posting Twitter blurbs via WordPress. I do so just once a day between 10 and 11am at Singapore time, so this does not necessarily reach all my readers. Despite this, there are more visitors to my blog from the USA than Singapore.
The Twitter analytics snapshot hints at other entry points and visitor expectations. For example, I now have some evidence that my Singapore followers are more content to just read the Twitter blurbs while the ones from the USA take the trouble to read my blog and/or find my content some other way.
Brid.gy is a trackback and feedback-to-source tool I discovered only a few weeks ago. It takes a bit of setting up to integrate it with a blog, but once done, might fill in a much needed gap.
Most bloggers discover that they lose conversations and comments about their blog content because these happen in Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. Brid.gy attempts to find and link some of them back to the blog.
The system is not perfect though. My WordPress counts of tweets often exceeds the number of Brid.gy returns, but that is probably because of the Twitter preferences of my followers.
For example, Brid.gy seems to only trackback the auto-tweets WordPress sends to Twitter on my behalf. Twitter followers who tweet comments and link to my blog independently of my tweet, reply to those tweets, or auto-link to other services like scoop.it are not detected.
Collectively, using these tools is like trying to catch fish from the stream with a net. You are not going to get a perfect catch all the time, but it is far better to try and to know than to operate blindly.