18 minutes of fame: the prime life of a tweet

Twitter logoHow long does a tweet attract attention for? A few of course get read, re-read, shared and re-shared a long time after they were sent. Barack Obama’s tweet on being re-elected will probably feature in various forms for years to come.

But you and I are no Barack Obama. (Though if you are, hello! Nice of you to stop by. Good luck with the deficit, health care, Middle East and the rest.)

A good way of judging how long a more typical tweet really gets attention for is to look at how long it is before retweets stop. That is what Peter Bray did back in November, and his conclusion is:

Ready for it? The magic number?

Eighteen minutes.

Yep, for half of the users sampled, 18 minutes or less was the time it took for half of their tweets’ RTs to occur…

High follower count users have a longer life than low follower count users. Okay, not that surprising. (By the way, it’s kind of in vogue to dismiss follower count, but generally it’s the most informative and productive metric there is.)

The full post is well worth a read at it contains lots of other useful points, and the bottom line is – tweets are short-lived.


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