Measuring Interactivity

17 Oct

Interactive tools are not only being used by advertisers, but by journalists as well. Journalists are using social networking sites like Twitter to gain information from their audience and post links to their news stories. Focusing on Twitter specifically, I wonder what type of influence news providers have on their audience in this platform? And how is it measured?

I recently read a report, The Influentials: New Approaches for Analyzing Influence on Twitter, which used an interesting methodology to determine the influence of Twitter users. Influence on Twitter is

“the potential of an action of a user to initiate a further action by another user,”

according to the report. The methodology for determining influence included looking at the numbers followers/followees of a user, examining re-tweets, and counting replies.

After reading this report, I decided to do a little test of my own. Especially following the UT shooting in Austin last week, I was curious about the type of influence Austin news providers have on Twitter.

According to the report, although not an entirely accurate measurement of influence,

“the ratio of followers to followees may communicate the intended purpose of emergent practices of a user.”

  • High follower total/low followee total = focused on materialistic aspect of Twitter, moving content to users
  • Follower total near equals followee total = focused on conversation
  • Low follower total/high followee total = spammer, attempts to collect users with intent to push content to as many as possible

Although unable to determine which news site has more influence, I decided to use this method to determine the type of presence several Austin news providers have on Twitter. My hypothesis: the users will be the materialistic type – focused on moving content to users.

Below is what I found.

Twitter handle Source Followers Following Type
@KXAN_News KXAN News Austin 9,383 8,330 Conversationalist
@statesman Austin Statesman 18,852 17,751 Conversationalist
@News8Austin News 8 Austin 6,801 1,110 Materialistic
@KVUE KVUE News Austin 4,886 109 Materialistic

Of the four news provider Twitter accounts I examined, two seemed to be materialistic while two seemed to be conversationalist. My hypothesis was disproved.

Of course because of the UT shooting story, these news providers were active on their Twitter accounts interacting with their audience. This was a very big news story across Texas. However, I thought that aside from this isolated incident, that the news providers would be more concerned with getting their particular story or article out to their followers, and less concerned with the interaction aspect.

As it turns out, KXAN News and the Austin Statesman have near equal amounts of people they follow and followees. Following the methodology of the report, for these two news providers, being on Twitter is about conversation – engaging with their audience and responding to their needs.

I always find it interesting to see how people are gauging influence and ROI of social media presence, what kinds of tools are people using to measure Twitter campaign success? Are there similar measurements for analyzing Facebook? These are questions I look forward to exploring in more depth.

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