Very interesting to see the sort of data you can now get from Twitter on the way people interact with your posts. These ‘analytics’ or metrics are very detailed. But how can I use them, other than to convince people who might want to hire me or pay for me to travel to nice places for free that I am an important dude?
Should I concentrated on the sorts of content that get the most engagement?
I guess it is useful to know what people consider to be interesting: this is useful information. It’s good to know about your readers, whether you are writing books or blogging or tweeting.
But I am wary about changing my content so that I give people what they want to hear. It seems that this is a deviation away from integrity. A small one, yes, but it’s a subtle shift in motivation.
As a writer, I want to have my voice. I try to write better, and I edit my work so it reads better, but I want it to be me. Then, readers have a sense of me and hopefully I will build a core of people who have decided they like my stuff and follow it, and want more. If I begin giving people what they want (or what my analytics tell me they want), this will alter the shape of my content.
If you came here and found polls, celebrity stories, and each article finished with third-party click bait links out, then you’d probably question my judgement. And you wouldn’t expect me to put up 10 page galleries of top wines from country X in order to increase my page views artificially. And if you found my articles strewn with repeated keyword use for SEO, you’d be disappointed.
It is like a news room. Editors should decide what makes it onto the front page or prime time bulletin by its newsworthiness. Not by its perceived popularity. If the BBC news website were to prioritize stories by their popularity, then the front page would look very different. Cleverly, they have made a concession to this by ‘most read’ and ‘most popular’ side bars.
So I like Twitter’s metrics, and I’ll browse them occasionally, but I won’t let them lead my social media activity.