Anne blog chart_9.13

Anne blog chart_9.13

In addition to Greenough’s social media listening platform, I love playing with tools, widgets and apps out there to test out hypotheses and satisfy my pangs of curiosity. One tool I’m a fan of is a free Twitter analytics service called Topsy. Yesterday, I was playing with keywords and testing different “rivalries” to see how they played out on Twitter. Purely to satisfy my own whim, I compared the number of times Twitter users mentioned the words “Twitter,” “Facebook” and “LinkedIn” during the past month.

A couple of noteworthy observations and patterns that piqued my interest:

  • At only one point during the entire month does Facebook fall out of first place as the more-frequently-mentioned social network among Twitter users (on August 18).
  •  Unlike a lot of closely-related topics (e.g. Democrats and Republicans), Facebook and Twitter generally don’t follow the same patterns of ups and downs.
  • Mentions of Twitter declined sharply on Fridays, while mentions of Facebook tended to trend downward on Saturdays.
  • LinkedIn is mentioned significantly less than Facebook or Twitter.

One might think that Twitter (the topic) would be discussed more among Twitter users than Facebook (the topic), but that’s not the case. How come? I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I did some digging and musing to try to identify some possible contributing factors.

Potential reasons why Facebook may have edged out Twitter in mentions:

  • When someone talks about Twitter, often they’ll just talk about tweets without saying where they were tweeted (for humans, Twitter’s the only place you can tweet); With Facebook, you use regular verbs that still require you to include the word “Facebook.” E.g. We liked the page on Facebook; He posted the photo on Facebook; I updated my status on Facebook.
  • There are more aspects of Facebook to master, meaning that there are more tips, tricks, questions, etc. floating around out there.
  • Facebook has more users than Twitter, so it stands to reason that it’d have more mentions, even within the Twitter channel. Facebook is not as open as Twitter and information doesn’t flow as freely, so Twitter is an easier channel through which to seek information or search for like-minded users.
  • Facebook is just in the news more than Twitter – IPO, privacy issues.
  • Promoting Facebook contests/giveaways


LinkedIn is no small potatoes in the social realm, so why is it barely a blip on the radar when tracking mentions on Twitter? I have a few guesses, but what do YOU think? Share your thoughts in the comment section on this or on any of the other observations that beg for further explanation.

— Anne Norris is a senior consultant, digital and social media. Follow Anne on Twitter: @anne_norris