New to Twitter? Here is a short course on counting Tweets

One of the things that is intoxicating about social media is watching  how many people see, interact and respond to your content. This is at the heart of the difference between the little red circle on Twitter (dopamine!) versus the the little red circle on Mail (dread!).

Tracking likes and Retweets

The simplest analytics are shown below the tweet and anyone can see them.

This tweet from new NSMC intern Dr. Dave has 5 retweets and 28 likes.

Impressions and Engagements

The next level of analytics can only done one’s own tweets. Select one of your tweets, preferably one with a picture or a link, or both, and press “View Tweet activity”

This opens up a panel that reveals two new analytics: Impressions and Total engagements.

Impressions are a bit confusing. Here Impressions represent the number of people the Tweet was actually displayed to. So someone that was scrolling through twitter and this tweet passed her eyes would add one to the impression. This is very different than how that same term is used by Symplur (see below).

Engagements are the total number of people who have interacted with the tweet in some way. Click View all engagements to see what that means.

Twitter does a nice job of tracking and breaking down the elements that make up engagements.

Analyzing Your Twitter account

The next level in analytics is looking at your twitter account. Make sure you are logged into your twitter account on the web and then type in

The analytics page has an explosion data. The top gives you your 28 day trend for Twitter.

January is not looking like a good month for me.

There is a menu of additional pages of information. The only one that I find useful is Tweets. More on that later.

Scrolling down you see a summary of every month you have been on Twitter Actually I’m not sure how far it goes back, but pretty far. For each month it tells you:

  1. Your Top Tweet. The tweet from that month with the most impressions
  2. Your Top media Tweet. The tweet with an embedded picture, video, gif, or poll(?) with the most impressions (if your Top Tweet has attached media, the Top Media Tweet will be the tweet with the second most impressions)
  3. Top Follower. The Twitter account that followed you that month with the most followers. Some of my months don’t list a top follower. I wonder if that is because that person no longer follows me? (And no I don’t know why Follower is capitalized)
  4. Top mention. The Tweet that mentioned you that garnered the most impressions that month.
Nothing dispels the notion that number of followers translates to interesting person faster than scrolling through your history of Top Followers. They are rarely someone interesting. Not you Soledad, I think you are very interesting, I’m talking about other people.

Next to these four pieces of information is a summary of your use of Twitter that month. I find it interesting to scroll through and see how your Twitter activity climbs and falls month to month.

Now click on Tweets at the top of the page (between Home and Audiences)

At the top Twitter shows you a histogram with the number of tweets (grey) and impressions (blue). On the right rail there are a series of histograms with the daily count of some of the components that make up engagements.

The bulk of the page is a collection, in reverse chronologic order, of all of your Tweets for the month. If you want to look at another time period you can do that with the date picker in the top right corner of the page. For each tweet you can see impressions and engagements and the rate (engagements/impressions). For each tweet you can click to reveal the full breakdown of engagements.  You can sort and filter the list by pressing Top Tweets and get a short list of your top Tweets.

There are a few more tabs to explore in Analytics, but I have not found them useful.

Hashtag Analytics

At the end of every #NephJC and #AskASN, Matt and I race to see who can post the analytics for the chat first. To do this we are taking advantage of a service called Symplur. Symplur tracks all health hashtags. If you come up with a new health hashtag for a conference, you should go to Symplur and register that a hashtag. To use Symplur, go to their homepage and click on the magnifying glass and enter your medical hashtag.

Then click on #NephJC in the search result page. This take you to the #NephJC page in Symplur.

Ignore the schedule in Symplur, NephJC moves around inside the month enough that they never have it right. To get the Symplur analytics for an event you need to scroll to the bottom of that page, use the date picker to select the time you are interested in and press Get Analytics.

This will give you the analytics for that time period. Here is the analytics for the ACC/AHA Hypertension chat on January 16th.Mentions is the number of times a person on Twitter was mentioned along side the hashtag in question (#NephJC in this case). Tweets is the number of tweets composed by the individual which contains the hashtag. And then there is Impressions. These impressions are not the same as the impressions that Twitter tracks. Twitter impressions are real. Symplur impressions are a lie. Symplur impressions are the number of tweets multiplied by the number of followers the author has. Since I have 11k followers, each of my tweets increases my impression count by 11k. Impressions rack up gaudy numbers fast and often a larger conference will have impression counts in the 100s of millions. This is absurd. Do not believe impressions. Matt and I, when we tweet the analytics for the chat, edit out impressions. However in one of our publications we did publish impression counts for NephJC. Matt swears it wasn’t him and I swear it wasn’t me but it’s in there. Sorry.

That’s the basics on Twitter analytics. A number of people have developed more advanced analytics that you might want to explore but I have not found that they add much witter experience. This is enough for me. Your mileage may vary.