Got Social?

It’s not the content, stupid

A while back I posted about response rates in the three major social networks I’m a part of – Twitter, Facebook, and Google +

The actual point of that post was my trying to come to terms with how I interacted with LinkedIn.  I can report that, after that blog, I decided that LinkedIn had changed since I first time I signed up and also that social networking had changed.  I couldn’t find any reference on the LinkedIn site about being able to vouch for the people in your LI network, so I’ve decided to selectively start accepting request there from people I have not worked with.  I’m still selective of who I’m saying yes to, but I’ve begun to broaden that circle.

But I digress…

As I mentioned in the previous post, I will, from time to time, run the same type of experiment where I toss an inquiry out to all three networks and quantify the response.  The grenade this time had to do with a presentation I’m making in my Narrative, Digital Media, and Learning class.  I’m doing a presentation on Game-based learning and narrative, from a pedagogical approach.  On our opening slide I wanted to include a few iconic images from games.  I choose a Playstation controller, a playing card (the “suicide” king [king of hearts]) and a Monopoly playing token.  I choose the thimble but wanted to see what others thought was the most recognizable.  I ask all three networks “What is the most recognizable Monopoly playing piece”

  • Five people from Facebook responded.  I have 256 friends, so that’s 2%
  • Three people from Twitter responded.  I have 895 people who follow me, so that’s 0.3%
  • Two people from Google + responded.  I have 161 people in circles, so that’s 1.2%

Now, there are a few things to unpack here aside from the numbers.  First off, in the last post, I speculate that my question may have been too complex for Twitter’s short responses.  Clearly that should not be the case here, as this is a short answer – potentially as short as one word.  I also speculated that the content might be to blame, that people who don’t use LinkedIn wouldn’t care.  Well, I’d wager that the vast majority of people in my networks have at lease played Monopoly once, so they could at least relate to that, taking that issue off the table.

So the question becomes, why such a low response rate.  Could it be that The Stream just goes by so quickly that people don’t see it?  I don’t know, but I think the numbers show a telling story.

Facebook was fairly consistent.  I have four less “friends” than the last time.  Although one or two have been added, I’m also weaning off some folks who I’d originally said yes to but I really want to keep FB to very close personal friends and family (and the occasional totally awesome person from work or school).  The FB response, which was 1.2% last time was 2% this time.  So even though I have fewer people in my network, I had a net increase of .8%.  Not a lot – it’s an increase, but its negligible.  This gets Facebook the Consistency Award.

Twitter was actually the big winner, sorta, kinda, but not really.  I have 24 more followers since the last time, for a total of 895, and the response rate went up by 50%!  The response rate last time was a meager .2% (not 2%, 2/10ths of a percent) and it went all the way up to .3% (3/10ths of a percent).  Yes, this is a decent increase, percentage-wise, but the anemic response rate in total still leads me to believe that Twitter is an echo chamber where more people (not all, more) are there to be voyeurs instead of active participants.  If The Stream has an effect anyplace it’s here.  So many people follow so many other people that The Stream just flies by.  If it weren’t for Lists, I’d miss stuff I wanted to catch.

The big loser in all of this was Google +.  Although I have 2 more followers in my circles than the last time, the response rate dropped by nearly half!  The last time I had a response rate of 2.5% and this time it dropped in half to only 1.2%.  This could mean that more people are following others and The Stream is going by too fast or fewer people are paying attention to Google +.  In either event, this is a negative development.

It’ll be interesting to see how these number change, if they change, the next time I try this.

[UPDATE] I forgot to add this to the original post and wanted to.  Hasbro, the company that owns Monopoly, did a survey in 1998 of the most recognizable playing piece.  The results can be found here, but the winner was the Racing Car with 18% of the vote (followed not far by the Dog (16%) and the cannon (14%).