On my travels around the interwebs today I stumbled across this interesting piece, “The 5 Things I’d Tell My 21 Year Old Entrepreneurial Self.” The article focuses on the lessons learned by the author over the last 12 years of his life, and how he would love to be able to share that knowledge with his younger self.
Midway through the article is an interesting quote that I want to share with you:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
The line is attributed to Jim Rohn, an American author and motivational speaker. I don’t know much about Rohn (like me you can look him up on Wikipedia), but I found his statement of enormous interest. The more I thought about it, the more it resonated with me, and I began to think about how it might apply to Twitter.
Your Twitter Inner Circle
Consider for a moment the people you most converse with on Twitter. If you follow a modest number of people this is probably fairly easy to work out. If you follow thousands, it can be trickier, and the results might surprise you. I used Twitter-Friends.com to evaluate my data and invite you to do the same. (TwitterFriends doesn’t require you to enter your Twitter password, but if you do the data is a lot more thorough. It also has a cool ‘online‘ feature that shows you which of your contacts are currently using Twitter.)
TwitterFriends scans all of your tweets from the past month and presents you with the output in a number of interesting ways. When you first see the data, the site defaults to the Statistics tab. This shows you a basic overall representation of your stats. You can see the people you reply to the most, and the people who most reply to you. I’m sure that, like me, these groups will be basically the same (although the order might be different).
This is your inner circle on Twitter, the folk you are closest to. Is it what you expected? Possibly, but there might be one or two names in there that have raised an eyebrow. How many of these people did you know before you joined Twitter? For me, it’s only three of my top ten, or thirty per cent, which means seventy per cent of my Twitter inner circle are new relationships. Three of the top-five people I engage with the most on Twitter are folk I met on the network. That’s powerful information.
(Note: if you cultivate most of your Twitter relationships off the network or even with direct messages this won’t be reflected in your stats.)
Five To One, One In Five
Indeed, it’s the non-friends that are most relevant to this analysis. Consider the top five people who you didn’t know before you joined Twitter. They can tell you a lot about your presence within the network. To paraphrase Rohn’s quote, I am the average of these five. They are both a virtual mirror of myself and also best represent my position within Twitter up to this moment in time (certainly over the last month), because these individuals are likely to represent my target audience. There’s a reason these folk are my top five, and that’s because they re-share a lot of my content and engage me in conversations about the same topics. We clearly have similar interests and likes. It makes sense to conclude that befriending more of these kinds of people on Twitter would be beneficial to my network and goals.
Digging A Little Deeper
Let’s investigate our stats a little further. Click on the @From button. This shows you all the people who’ve replied to you via the use of a cloud. The bigger (and bolder) the username, the more replies (or re-tweets) you have had from that person. Look beyond your top ten from before for the next tier of your Twitter contacts.