Suggested User List Ideas

A few weeks ago when I started writing about what it's like to be on Twitter's suggested user list and the fact that nobody has a million followers on Twitter, I thought it might be a good opportunity to try to collect some useful data since I'd been logging my account's activity using Gina Trapani's ThinkTank application. So I offered an Amazon gift certificate as a little token prize to encourage everybody to chip in ideas of how to analyze that data.

As my follower count crept past 300,000 a number of you responded with suggestions of what information you were curious about, submitting your ideas by using the #sulidea hashtag.

Before I reveal who's won an Amazon certificate, here's a list of all of the suggestions that I found, sorted by Twitter user name.

  • casey: I wonder what the rate of increase of followers for those on the SUL is—i.e., is there a spike on day 1 and then dropping each day?
  • Alex Guest: How many followers from pre-list days are still following and what is the decay curve?
  • Carol Hagen: Interested in stats on new followers & avg number of tweets from lists vs those of engaged followers
  • Nate: How many of your SUL followers have less than 10 total tweets after their first three months on twitter?
  • Chris F. Nicholson: How many of your followers follow a given number of your other followers (how deep is the network between them, and thus, you)
  • Chad Colgur: How many follows were reciprocated?
  • Denton Gentry: Of the followers gained each day via the SUL what % stop sending tweets within a week? Within a month?
  • Tim Maly: What proportion of your followers go on to become disabled accounts? We're looking for spammers.
  • Doug Benson: We need a way to know who is an expert and who is a twitter fool. Is there any kind of feedback metric other than followers?
  • Ekalavya: Wonder how many users who've followed you after you got listed on the list will send in suggestions?
  • Phil Wolff: How are the people who followed you before & after different, adjusted for time on T? # of followers, tweets, followeds?
  • Phil Wolff: How are trending tweets among people that add you different from the overall trending tweets?
  • Phil Wolff: If a follower doesn't unfollow you within N minutes of following you, they never will. Solve for N.
  • Peggy Dolane: how about looking at stats on your followers using @via vs. old/new RT methods?Or trends for tweet favoriting?
  • Ricardo Guerrero: I'd be keen to know how many of your followers haven't updated at all in the last 1-3 months. Also % who've replied/RTed.
  • Gabe Audick: Maybe see if writing Please retweet or Reply to or if asking a question increases conversation.
  • Juan E. D.: How many users ONLY follow people in the SUL
  • Jay Neff: What % of follows gained are actively tweeting? Would love to see a breakdown of active to inactive over x amount of time
  • John W. Furst: Average time people keep following (on monthly basis.)
  • John W. Furst: Average time people keep replying/retweeting (on monthly basis.) before they unfollow or account becomes dormant.
  • John W. Furst: Is there a best time to tweet?
  • Jon Paul: another how many of your followers are following exactly 20 people? another way to measure how many are probabaly not active users
  • Jon Paul: punk your followers with outrageous tweets w/ links, and see how many take the bait. Determine if lack of clicks was them or you ;)
  • Katie Kimball: How did YOU get on the list?
  • K Kishbaugh: How many new followers from suggested list R active on Twitter beyond a couple weeks? Do many never find the value in Twitter?
  • Michael Kubler: Are new followers not clicking/retweeting cause they are new? Do old followers used to Twitter do better?
  • Leonard: analysis of followers quantifying activity percentiles / current activity also would be pretty useful
  • Leonard: clickthroughs need to be corrected against users' avg tweeetstream rate/following and maybe age/activity
  • Mark J. Hulme: Improve twttr's suggested user list - make retweets a part of the calculus 4 inclusion - how so w/out encouraging gaming?
  • Matthew Glidden: Are you tempted to prune away non-engaged followers?
  • mizminh: How many people who don't follow arrived at via Seth Godin's blog about Anil Dash's blog?
  • natasha: What are the sort of followers you get. any specific country wins? many bots? young/old/new people?
  • Nathaniel McNamara: I would like to know which people are clicking on my own links (who are they?) -
  • Nathaniel McNamara: I would love to know the number of clicks generated from links posted by accounts on the SUL in the past week/month/year
  • Laura Conaway: Did the account's # of tweets go up after it got added to Suggested User List?
  • Peter J. Hester: Anil, Of your total followers, what other SUL accts are they following? Is there a trend?
  • Peter J. Hester: does the frequency of interaction from new followers increase/decrease over time?
  • Peter J. Hester: Of the available SUL accts., how many does the avg new user elect to follow when signing up. What criteria is used to decide?
  • Sharon Henry: Breakdown of your followers: Those following fewer than 50,100...being 1 of 50 greater influencer than being 1 of 10,000
  • Greg: I wonder what the distribution is for the amount of time people follow twitter celebrities before they they stop following them
  • esteban contreras: wonder what the real / lessthanreal follwr ratio is for companies vs. individuals & celebs on twtr suggester user list
  • Jason Staten: A ratio of tweets with a link to RTs of them might be an interesting statistic. Most linked tweets want to be shared.
  • Tyler Crowley: how much has the average CTR of your bit.ly links or twitpics changed since joining the list?
  • Carol Doane: What I want to know (it's not about users) when THE LIST goes away & followers drop, what is psychological affect on you?
  • George Eapen: Check out how many of your followers actually use the hashtag to figure out how many real users you have.
  • Alex Rose: Let's see a graph showing # of RTs over time by user. Anyone regularly RT on a weekend at least 5 days later?
  • Vojt?ch Turek: Idea, pt1#2: It might be interesting to have a chart of your most active followers (highest RT/reply/mention count) [...]
  • Vojt?ch Turek: Idea, pt2#2: [...] from back then & whether it's changed significantly after you'd been added to the Suggested User List.
  • David Wertheimer: Idea 1: I wonder how many silent followers are newbie abandonments. Good read: http://bit.ly/sulidea
  • David Wertheimer: Idea 2 re : maybe isn't seeing responses because his tweet volume is neither as offensive or as obvious as celebrities'
  • David Wertheimer: And idea 3 (best) re : I suspect the average Suggested User user is simply more likely to be a lurker than 's usual coterie
  • J. D. J.: I'd be interested in knowing what percentage of your followers have ever @mentioned you.
  • Since there were lots of good ideas, I've decided to give out two awards, one for the most universal, and one for the most thought-provoking.

    Nate Chenenko asked, "How many of your SUL followers have less than 10 total tweets after their first three months on twitter?" I think this is the fundamental question. Are people who follow someone on the suggested user list interested in posting to Twitter at all? Is it just a passive experience for them? Ricardo Guerrero formulated this in terms of time period of activity instead of tweet count, which is similar but slightly less indicative, when he asked, "I'd be keen to know how many of your followers haven't updated at all in the last 1-3 months. Also % who've replied/RTed." And Jay Neff phrased it as, "What % of follows gained are actively tweeting? Would love to see a breakdown of active to inactive over x amount of time" So Ricardo and Jay get Honorable Mentions, along with a few others who asked similar questions, while Nate gets a prize.

    And Sharon Henry gets a prize for articulating another common theme in an interesting way: "Breakdown of your followers: Those following fewer than 50,100...being 1 of 50 greater influencer than being 1 of 10,000 ". That seems eminently doable, so I really found it appealing. In short, what I'm hoping for is two core bits of data from which we can extrapolate a lot of meaning:

    • How many followers do each of my followers have?
    • How many tweets do each of my followers have, and when was the last time they were active?

    Those are pretty straightforward requests to make with the Twitter API. So, there's still a chance to win another prize. If you're a coder, commit either of those queries as a feature built onto ThinkTank and I'll send you a 500 GB portable hard drive.

    Thanks to everybody who participated! I'll try to make the data from these requests available as soon as possible, and the few questions above that I have answers to will be replied to shortly.

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