On 12/29, in response to a variety of posts about measures of authority on Twitter, Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch suggested that the count of Twitter retweets is a good measure of authority. Retweeting occurs when someone takes a Twitter message (a Tweet) and reposts it to their followers, propagating it through the social network.
My friend and collaborator Engin mentioned that he observed a significant increase in retweets within his Twitter network shortly after the TechCrunch article. I was curious to see whether his observation matched reality across all Twitter users, so I ran an experiment to measure the number of retweets over a month period surrounding the post. The results are shown above. The data confirms the hypothesis: retweets doubled from around 16,000/day to nearly 32,000/day within a few days of the TechCrunch post.
As the Internet’s most authoratitative blog on the tech industry1, it is acknowledged that TechCrunch is a major power broker in the startup arena. And while correlation does not imply causality, this spike in retweets indicates that TechCrunch may also hold significant influence over the online behavior of the digerati.
- TechCrunch is currently #2 on Technorati’s 100 most authoritative blogs [↩]