My last blog post summarized why I deleted my Twitter account and started fresh. To follow-up, here’s why Twitter ranking tools are meaningless–with a comparative focus on HubSpot’s Twitter Grader application.
According to HubSpot’s blog, the grade is algorithmically determined by six factors:
1. Number of Followers: More followers leads to a higher Twitter Grade (all other things being equal). Yes, I agree that it’s easy to game this number, but we are looking at measuring reach and I did say all other things being equal.
2. Power of Followers: If you have people with a high Twitter Grade following you, it counts more than those with a low Twitter Grade following you. It’s a bit recursive, and we don’t get carried away with it, but it helps.
3. Updates: More updates generally leads to a higher grade — within reason. This does not mean you should be tweeting like a manic squirrel cranked up on caffeine and sugar. It won’t help either your Twitter Grade or your overall happiness in life.
4. Update Recency: Users that are more current (i.e. time elapsed since last tweet is low) generally get higher grades.
5. Follower/Following Ratio: The higher the ratio, the better. However, the weight of this particular factor decreases as the user accrues points for other factors (so, once a user gets to a high level of followers or a high level of engagement, the Follower/Following ratio counts less).
6. Engagement: The more a given user’s tweets are being retweeted, the more times the user is being referenced or cited, the higher the twitter grade. Further, the value of the engagement is higher based on who is being engaged. If a user with a very high Twitter Grade retweets, it counts more than if a spammy account with a very low grade retweets.
My recreated @ariherzog account is ~40 hours old. After following who I used to follow, I removed those names from the older account to bring the number to 4 (which you can see below). Still with me?
Before continuing, note the rank on the left and the overall grade on the right. The presumption is higher ranks and grades are good indicators you would follow me as a result. Personally, I don’t look up tweeps’ grades to determine if I follow; I look at tweet content and follower/following ratios; but that’s me.
My new account has also considerably dropped among Newburyport graded users from the top three to 25th place. If you care about that sort of thing.
I’m more productive, if about 100 tweets are any indication. I’m replying to people more, retweeting less, and watching the flow of tweets less–because of other activities keeping my eyeballs away from the Twitter stream. I’m clicking on external links more, leading to more RSS blog subscriptions appearing in my feed reader. I’m more focused. And, I’m manually blocking spam-like accounts, e.g. those with usernames like @pam25heart or @twittermachine24.
I’ve always agreed with Danny Brown and Mark Drapeau that ranking tools are meaningless. I hope the above comparison helps explain why it shouldn’t matter how one is ranked as much as what one tweets. Someone may be ranked at #1 with a grade of 100 (which I’ve had in the past) but if the content is irrelevant to you or annoying to you, what’s the point of the rank?