How Long Does a Tweet Last?

November 15, 2012By

There is a great new blog post on SEOmoz – When Is My Tweet’s Prime of Life?

If you use Twitter for business or even for personal reasons you’ll want to give it five minutes of your time. The blog post features a study that looks into how tweets are retweeted. Lots of considerations are given including the number of followers a user has and how often that user tweets.

There was one surprising finding in the study. A tweet has a relative lifespan of about 18 minutes.

That actually seems to be pretty long relative to what most people might think. If you think about your own Twitter feed it would be easy to assume that a tweet doesn’t last that long.

I would venture a guess that you might follow 100 or so people on Twitter. Maybe it’s 200 or 500 or 1,000.

Either way, you’re looking at probably 10-20 updates per hour with that kind of stream unless you have a few heavy users. So a tweet can live for a long time and 18 minutes doesn’t seem so unreasonable.

My stream is a little different. I follow anywhere between 10-15 people depending on what day it is. There are 1 or 2 that are heavy users that update probably 20-50 times per day. I see their tweets quite often.Others I still see even though they tweet as much because I have a low number of people I follow.

Now, on the other side it’s important to think about how your tweets are seen by your followers. If you’re looking to get a message out to people you can now feel comfortable knowing that your tweet will last for about 18 minutes.

Here are some tips for using Twitter that might work to prolong your tweet’s lifespan.

1. Tweet Less Often

This was mentioned in the study. If you tweet less and really focus on tweeting something interesting the tweet will have a longer lifespan. The thought is that when people visit your Twitter profile they’ll see your most recent tweets. If you’re constantly updating your tweets will get buried and lost forever.

On the flip side, though, if the fact that if you don’t tweet often you’ll get lose in the regular feed of your followers. If you’re not tweeting there will be a smaller chance of people seeing your updates.

2. Reply to People

Depending on who the person is the chances of them seeing your tweet if you include their Twitter handle or if you reply to them in a tweet is better. For example, when people use @dayneshuda in their tweet there is a really good chance I’ll see it.

Now, this is treading on a tricky issue because you don’t want to spam people. Don’t go overboard with it, but when you include people in your tweets they are more likely to see it.

Some Thoughts on Tweeting Vs. Blogging

I always hit this one each time something comes up in the discussion of social media.

A tweet now lasts about 18 minutes.

A blog post lives forever. You might get more traffic early on in the life of a post, but in many cases a post will continue to get traffic from SEO and social sources forever. In some cases your post might actually get more traffic the longer its been online. That’s how search algorithms work and if your blog brand gets more recognition down the road people will look through your archives sharing the posts they really find useful.

I use Twitter to connect with people and to find interesting content.

But my social media efforts still center around blogging.