Social Networks

Arguing With Heffernan: No, Weiner Is Not An “Advanced Twitter Player”

Just because Virginia Heffernan writes that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is “a skilled and even advanced Twitter player” doesn’t make it so.

Weiner on Twitter was like an amateur pianist on an improv tear. He posted sometimes dozens of times a day, trying out the conventions of Twitter as if he were practicing themes and variations. He especially liked the hashtag and @-reply tricks that help a Twitterer cultivate a readership….

In August, 2009, Weiner burst onto Twitter with a candid resolution to let loose, and “to Twitter w/o telling my minders.”

Earlier this month, I analyzed Weiner’s tweets. After those first two tweets in October 2009, Weiner didn’t tweet again for almost a year.  During May, he sent 105 Tweets — that’s about three tweets per day. About 1-in-10 tweets were @ replies — hardly the style of a conversationalist. About 1-in-10 tweets were RTs, hardly the style of someone sharing other’s ideas. Only 81 of his lifetime tweets have contained links. As I wrote last week:

Weiner is still a Twitter novice (he set up his account in October 2009 but didn’t begin using it until August 2010). But something happened the past three months, because he went from averaging fewer than 25 tweets per month to more than 100.

TweetStats For RepWeiner
TweetStats - @RepWeiner - Number of Tweets

Weiner’s posts were quite often banal. He did not use his account to talk about politics or share ideas (very few links and RTs). I’m not going to say that there is only one way to use Twitter — there isn’t. But Weiner did not use Twitter like someone who is thinking about his political career. [See his archive as a PDF.]

Furthermore, Heffernan’s claim about NY being the the center of the Twitterverse caused my eyebrows to raise.

Residents of the state of New York use Twitter some thirty percent more than the national average, and New York City, for per capita use, is considered the Twitter capital of the world.

The initial claim is based on data from Boston-based  … the website is currently down which makes it hard to track down methodology. (And the company’s Twitter account hasn’t tweeted since February.) Note that there is no source for the second claim.

According to the most recent TwitterGrader data in Google cache, New York is the number four city (after London, LA and Chicago) in terms of number of accounts that have location data. Caveat (that relates to Heffernan’s claim):

Rankings are by total number of twitter users (based on the “Location” setting). This only works for users whose locations we could actually parse.

A different company and different protocol yield different results: San Francisco was the leader in the fall.

NetProspex determined its list by examining employees’ Twitter presences and assessing “the average number of tweets” and “the average number of followers/average number of profiles being followed.”

Big caveat! NetProspex analyzes only its 2 million registered users:

We first grouped employees into geographic areas based on the location of the company they work for, then took the average NPSI of the overall city. Over 2 million contacts were analyzed out of the NetProspex business contact database.

What is it about lies, damn lies and statistics?

Ok, here’s the last claim:

Anthony Weiner went from a junior congressman to a politician of national significance, thanks in large part to his use of new media.

Gag me. With tweets like these? I don’t think so.

:: WiredPen Permalink : Follow me on Twitter!

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

One reply on “Arguing With Heffernan: No, Weiner Is Not An “Advanced Twitter Player””

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.