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Since I bailed out of Twitter last November, I’ve continued to use it in (nearly) write-only mode, usually to promote things published elsewhere, most often Fediverse/Mastodon stuff. Recently I learned a way to do this more effectively, where by “more effectively” I mean “more people see it.” Tl;dr: Don’t put any hyperlinks in your post — if you need them, post a thread with the links in the trailing tweets.

Impressions · Twitter says I have 45.7K followers. Since I’ve been there since early 2007, that number is a vast overestimate; many of those followers have drifted away or died (really, I could mention a few) and just aren’t looking any more. So I’d gotten used to an everyday post getting 3-4K views; some would get many times that if they were retweeted by Really Famous People. Some got many fewer, usually (to be brutally honest) if they just weren’t very interesting.

Since I bailed out there’ve been two changes: The many-fewer case has gone away, probably since I tweet much less and only when I have something really substantive to point to that I’ve put a lot of work into and that concerns something that’s currently hot.

Second, so has the many-times-that case. In 2023, no tweet has got 10K impressions and only one has made it over 7K, no matter how much cheerleading, no matter how hot the topic. This includes cases where the underlying blog piece, for example my stupidly-popular Modern Mono or Amazon Q4 2022 Financials, got way more blog traffic than its tweet got impressions. Mind you, promoting on Mastodon, where I have only one-third the followers, helps a lot, it’s a way-better tool than Twitter, in 2023.

Links hurt? · In the first week of April 2023 there was a lot of discussion of Twitter’s ranking algorithm, and a few people exclaimed that it looked like Tweets with hyperlinks were selectively down-ranked. This seemed crazy to me, but apparently it’s been fairly-common knowledge for a couple of years.

Solution: Linkless-head thread · So I just did a little experiment: I had a blog piece about CoSocial, the new member-owned-cooperative Mastodon/Fediverse instance that I (in a small way) helped build. I really wanted to get this particular word out because I’m passionate about making a more humane social-media fabric that is freer of the hands of Big-Tech giants and VC-driven growth-crazed startups.

So, here’s the blog piece: Fediverse Cheesemaking. Here’s the Twitter thread; 18K impressions for that no-links tweet!

Tweet promoting CoSocial blog piece that got a lot of views

But, the tweet next in the thread, with links to CoSocial, its blog, and my blog, only got 2K. Probably because, let’s face it, launching a co-op isn’t that exciting (if you’re not me), and only 10% of people who saw the thread clicked on it.

Obviously, not conclusive. But, while I’m probably more passionate about being a CoSocialist than about anything I’ve blogged and tweeted this year, I’m not kidding myself that more people care about this than about monospace fonts or Amazon quarterly results.

So, quality evidence, I’d say.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Nilesh (May 04 2023, at 18:58)

This is interesting. I had doubts on this after hitting it myself a bunch of times, but couldn't see a pattern.

I guess, it goes on the same path to prevent bots which keep sharing links.


author · Dad
colophon · rights

April 10, 2023
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