I was riffing with Mike Baldwin yesterday about how social media is impacting upon the dynamics of the relationship between awareness and engagement. Mike has said he will blog about this topic at some point, and I look forward to reading it.
Our conversation reminded me of a post by David Bradley on SciScoop last November shortly after the launch of Twitter lists wherein David divided the number of lists leading science tweeters were featured in by their follower count in order to derive a ‘Twitter respect ratio for science’.
I thought it would be fun to do something similar for pharma.
Firstly, the caveats.
- As the numerical fumbling below ably demonstrates, I am not a statistician. In fact, it’s as much as I can do to turn on a calculator. This is raw data with no weightings applied. However, you are most welcome to cut it again any way you wish, and perhaps post your further ruminations as a comment.
- Follower counts signify very little. Someone, somewhere (and I happen to know who, as a matter of fact 🙂 ) is busily sifting the wheat from the chaff of pharma Twitter followers in order to refine the demographics and help us to better understand the constituencies that pharma is actually reaching with the help of our favourite status updating platform. I think the results are going to make interesting reading. I hope you haven’t got that FY11 strategic plan signed off yet.
I am describing the product of dividing pharma’s Twitter list citations by its follower count as an awareness / engagement ratio, which I have expressed a percentage. Here are the data (there is a downloadable version here which may be easier to read):
|Johnson & Johnson||JNJComm||1349||2841||139||4.9||650||09/02/09|
It is worth noting at this point the fact that Twitter does not require a user to follow a given account in order to add them to one of the lists they may be curating.
Therefore, those users who have chosen to signify their awareness of a given account to their community by adding it to a Twitter list need not be a subset of those users who have chosen to engage with the same Twitter account by following it.
This observation merits a little unpacking.
When the UK constabulary place a police aware sticker on an abandoned car, they are not thereby denoting their admiration for whoever left it there.
In the same way, it should not be assumed that the act of adding a Twitter account to a list in some way either confers approval or indicates respect.
What a high awareness/engagement ratio could be said to signify is the fact that a particular account is generating a significant level of interest within Twitter relative to the number of followers it has.
Hence AZHelps currently appears to be particularly good at creating awareness of its activity.
Of course, whether or not this is a good thing is contingent upon the sort of interest and comment an account’s activity has elicited. A community’s sensibilities, as represented by the awareness/engagement ratio, could just as easily come to confer the characteristics of a pillory as it could those of a pedestal upon a given account.
What are the lessons here?
A new follower is not necessarily expecting that you will follow them, but having engaged with you, they are rather hoping that you will reciprocate.
If you share common interests, don’t disappoint them.
A new list entry need not be a pat on the back for you.
Maintain a high level of self-awareness as to how your activity is being received. Undertake as many self-diagnostic checks as you can. This doesn’t mean harvesting data from your expensive sentiment analysis dashboard so much as it means trusting the opinion of your peers. Take the time to ask them ‘how am I doing?’ then listen, adjust, and grow.