Kicking it with a few friends the other day, my pal Tim asked, “What’s the big deal about Tumblr?”. Tim (@Howlabit) is a regular Twitter user, who tweets about Scotch, and the aesthetics of the ladies who serve it, but he has yet to try Tumblr as an alternative micro-blogging platform. I’ve managed to break my obsession with my Tumblog, but I’d been a regular poster for the majority of last year, so I tried to explain the difference to him.
I’m no Tumblr Celebrity, like Julia Segal or Bohemea. The majority of my meagre four hundred posts consists of reblogged photos of: the Beatles, SelleckWaterfallSandwich, and Zooey Deschanel. I even forgot about my account for a couple of months. When I checked into my dashboard the other day, this is what I saw:
Thirty people reblogged a Rob Sato photo I found online after seeing one of his shows in the gallery at the Giant Robot store in San Francisco. Big deal, right? Thirty reblogs. Many Tumblr Celebrities expect three hundred reblogs per post. However, I’m humbly surprised that one of my posts was reblogged more than the amount of people who follow my Tumblr account, and happy I could share Sato’s awesome art with some folks who may not have heard of him before.
Recently, my Twitter account surpassed one thousand followers:
Again, big deal. Paul Pierce‘s account has over 1.6 million followers (more than three times the population of Boston), and he only follows twenty seven accounts back. Still, for me one thousand followers is a considerable Twitter milestone, and a significant audience to share with. However, with Twitter’s amassing audience I’ve begun to doubt the hype of the “million person reaching” retweet. With the recent changes to the Twitter interface, retweets have been removed from your @mentions, and quarantined in their own tab. Combined with a new option to block retweets from specific users, and the option to turn off RTs completly with Hootsuite, the dream of having one tweet “go viral” is over.
In less than six hours, or one profile screen length without scrolling, a tweet from an account the size of mine has been lost in the noise. Unless one of the big time Twitter celebrities, like @jianghomeshi or @sharonhayes, sees your tweet, and retweets it – the only person who will read it is the archivist at the US Library of Congress (Lucky them!). Perhaps this is one of the reasons Jon Mayer quit Twitter for Tumblr?
Here are a few solutions to maximize your reach with Twitter Retweets:
1: Automate – Scheduling a few tweets with a third party service, like Hootsuite or (my favorite) Posterous, can help you reach different time zones, which can be helpful for those of us who live on the Pacific side of the continent. Change your text a little, space your second tweet more than six hours apart, and some bloke will be reading your article at Tea Time in London, UK, (or Ontario). Be careful though, this tactic can make you seem disingenuous if someone asks a question or sends you feedback through an @mention, and you take twelve hours to respond, or look like a spammer if you repeat the same tired blog post every hour for twelve hours.
2: Don’t Expect – If you send an @mention to someone you mention in a blog post don’t expect them to reply, but don’t be surprised if they do. One of the most awesome parts about Twitter is it’s ability to connect producers with people, and @mentions are faster to respond to than emails.
3: Leverage Influencers – Each tweet is assigned a unique URL, DM that puppy to someone who you know will Retweet you. Again, don’t be a spammer and attempt this trick with every one of your boring tweets, but if you have something of value for the person you are sending to then hop to it, with respect. For more information on identifying influencers read Gary Lee from mBlast’s: The Hype Over Influencers
Thanks for Reading, Reblogging and Retweeting:
Here’s my status update URL: http://twitter.com/Jordan_Keats/status/7545852079898624
RT it, I’d love to be proven wrong!