Over the last weeks I noticed that my Twitter stream changed. I could not put my finger on it until I dugg a bit deeper. I came up with some interesting results besides the fact that the thing which changed is that a good part of the online education companies I am following on Twitter simply went silent all of a sudden.
So I took this Sunday afternoon to collect some data which I would like to share with you. I will also start a mini series about my thoughts of Twitter and online education based on this post.
I used www.twittercounter.com for the following graphs. From my experience the data of this service is quite correct, the only thing that works not 100%, I think, is the date function. So I have to speculate on this when I am analysing the graphs.
In the pictures you will see the followers and number of tweets in a combined graph. You won’t see it like this when you go on the TwitterCounter website. I used a graphic tool to melt the two or three graphs together to be able to see if there is a connection between the number of tweets, the number of people the companies are following and their followers.
Language Learning Platform / Marketplace
Company no 1 that I missed in my Twitter stream is eduFire. As you can see there are some drastic changes in the graph. According to TwitterCounter eduFire lost about 400 followers in one day around the 22nd of November and then got very quiet losing about 5 followers a day since.
If I check the date it must have something to do with the CLEP course announcement which would be rather suprising. There might have been one of the robot killer days where Twitter was deleting spam accounts but I think the reason for the constant loss of followers since then is the suspension of the eduFire SuperPass around the 11th of December.
In this graph you cannot see the people eduFire is following as it is a very small number, 156 to be exact.
The next one who got very quiet is the Myngle Parrot. According to the graph the last sign of life was around the 21st of December. Before that date Myngle tweeted on average 15 times all two or three days. Since Myngle have stopped, the graph remains flat.
What we can see here is the “follow for follow” approach. During the period Myngle was following people, they got followed back. The day they stopped, no new followers came to Myngle.
The jump in followers for WiZiQ in November comes from a massive following session by WiZiQ. They followed about 700 people back at that time. Then the massive tweet session in December that lasted for about 2 weeks brought WiZiQ 40 new followers only. After that it got quiet but after a flat period WiZiQ seems to get new followers even without tweeting. WiZiQ seems to be experimenting with different techniques on Twitter, it seems.
This one is a bit tricky, because the number of followers and the number of people italki is following seems to be nearly the same. Again a “follow for follow” strategy. But you can see that italki’s number of tweets seems to go up with the number of people they are following. If you follow them on Twitter you will notice that a big number of italki’s tweets are actually retweets of the people they are following.
Language Learning Community
Babbel had a constant growth until their graph took a dip around January 10th. This is about the time Babbel was moving to its new servers. They were also unfollowing some people around that date but I don’t think that unfollowing about 15 people would explain the loss of about 100 followers. Since then the followers have been increasing slowly again. You can also notice that after the dip Babbel got quiet on Twitter.
Another interesting graph is the one of busuu. They are following about twice as many people as they are followed by. But if you take a look on the 3 months graph on TwitterCounter you will see that they are indeed unfollowing people. This does not seem to have an affect on their follower growth though as it is steadily growing. The increase in followers you can see around the 15th of January could be connected to the partnership with PONS.
Livemocha is growing steadily although tweets are very rare. They are also following a very small number of people compared to their number of followers.
Based on the data above we can see that
1) Language Learning Platforms / Marketplaces have to fight for each single follower. Either by following people on Twitter in the hope that they will follow back or simply by constantly interacting with the Twittersphere. If they stop doing this the best that happens is a stop in growth, in the worst case they will lose followers.
2) Language Learning Communities just have to open a Twitter account to get followers. If they tweet or not, if they follow others or not has no affect on the growth of their own followership.
3) Most Language Learning Platforms / Marketplaces (3 of 4) have given up on Twitter as marketing tool which then of course means it did not convert to be interesting enought to maintain it.
Now what does this mean?
a) If your service is already based on social interaction / social media like learning communities your users will try to connect with you outside your own website, too. None of the communities above is actually following the 80/20 rule (80% value / 20% promotion) or tweeting on a regular basis still they get a constant growth of followers.
b) If you are a service provider, e.g. trying to sell something on Twitter people will filter you out. That is one of the advantages using social media and also an unwritten rule. I will write a whole post about this soon.
c) Twitter is far away of being a mass phenomenon. Livemocha has over 4.5 million users but only 4900 followers (0,1%), busuu 300k / 844 (0,28%) , Babbel 600k /623 (0,1%) etc.
In the next post I will try to come up with a solution for online education companies how they could effectively use Twitter.