When Twitter opened their API in 2008 the web exploded with all manner of tools and applications that took information from Twitter and manipulated it in various ways. Good examples of this are TweetDeck, Twhirl and the numerous mobile interfaces that are available on the iPhone, Blackberry and pretty much every other handset, too.
Recently we’ve seen a wave of analytical tools become available for Twitter and in this post I’ll take a look at three of the better ones: Twittercounter, Twitalyzer and Twitter Grader.
Twittercounter.com bills itself as ‘the ultimate Twitter statistics provider’ and it certain packs its weight when it comes to analytics.
Enter your username and the site will quickly provide you with a wealth of information about your account, including a prediction on your number of followers (tomorrow, and the next 30 days, although this can be modified to any number you like: try looking 3650 days, or ten years ahead! ), your daily average growth, where you rank in the Twittersphere (by popularity), and so on.
You don’t have to log into the service to use it and can enter any username you like.
I find the service to be fairly accurate and it’s always quite encouraging to see where it thinks you’ll be, follower wise, in 30 days from now. (At the time of writing I have 449 followers; Twittercounter suggests I will have 1,315 by this time next month. Time will, indeed, tell.)
It’s also a very convenient place to see the current Twitter top 100 users (by number of followers), which is a great place to start if you’re new to the service and want some ideas of whom you should follow.
You can also follow the site on Twitter @thecounter.
Twitalyzer is the newest kid on the block, going live only last week. The site provides more data than the other services, including information on where you rank in terms of influence, signal-to-noise ratio, generosity, velocity and clout.
Enter your username and Twitalyzer will very quickly analyse your account.
- Influence measures your relative reach and authority
- Signal-to-noise ratio tells you how often you pass information (i.e., links, as opposed to personal Tweets)
- Generosity rates how often you re-Tweet other users
- Velocity lets you see how often you Tweet (against Twitter’s maximum API usage of 1,500 updates per week)
- Clout is the likelihood that other people will reference you on Twitter
The site offers a lot more depth than the other services and you really delve deep into your personal statistics (or those of anybody else).
Check out the 100 most influential Twitter users. Are you as surprised as I am that Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) is number one, above @mashable and @guykawasaki? Whether this casts some doubt over the accuracy of this part of the service is probably up for some debate. Numerically, at least according to the criteria used by Twitalyzer, Ashton is clearly number one but I’d be highly surprised if his actual influence on Twitter was above that of most of the people in the list below him.
All that said, Twitalyzer is recommended and definitely worth regular visits to keep up-to-date with your progress on Twitter.
Twitter Grader does exactly what it says on the tin, and offers to grade your place within the Twittersphere.
The highest grade you can receive is a perfect one hundred; currently the site shows me as a 97.8, which is enough to rank me #2 in my location.
(While of some amusement, the value of this is of some debate as the location is specified by the user in their bio on Twitter, and therefore if the text you enter is obscure then there’s a good chance you’ll rank at or near the top. Meantime, entering ‘UK’ or ‘USA’ as your location means you’ll be competing against potentially millions of other users).
Once you have your grade the site will make recommendations of other people you might like to follow (based on the information you have put into your Twitter bio) and also has a neat feature where you can enter any username and it will tell you if they are following you.
If you click on your followers link in Twitter Grader you can see all of their gradings, too. A lot of people rank at 100 which again makes me wonder about the relative value of such a number. (As a matter of interest, the site ranks Stephen Fry as the #1 user on Twitter, although everyone in the top 100 is really tied for first place, scoring as they all do the perfect mark.)
The site is fairly useful and I have enjoyed watching my own grade slowly climb this past month or so – and to be honest I won’t settle until I’m number one in my location – but I’ve found when searching the data on some users it often doesn’t match their numbers (follow count, etc) on Twitter itself (or other analytical services). Check it out for yourself and see what your own grade is.
It’s worth spending some time looking at all of these services as you can actually find a lot of information about how you use Twitter and it will make you think about improvements you can make to your Tweets and the way you interact with other users. Whether the data provided is of any genuine value is a reasonable question, and there’s certainly some room for improvement in the algorithms used to determine which users occupy the coveted number one rankings, certainly when it comes to something as significant as influence.
IfÂ you don’t take the output too seriously, or put too much stock in it, you can certainly learn a lot about the way Twitter and its users are ‘seen’ in a mathematical sense. I personally use Twittercounter the most – it’s somewhat akin to Googling yourself – and turn to Twitalyzer when I require more depth, and Twitter Grader because I’m chasing that all-important ‘number one in East Sussex’ spot.