Twitter Part 5: Is Retweeting Worthwhile?

It’s our last day with Twitter and we are dealing with retweets. As the week has progressed I have wanted to go a little deeper into retweeting, so we will do so today. Retweets, in comparison to actual tweets seem almost useless, but I need evidence of this. Perhaps it is the overuse of retweeting that is the problem, not the occasional retweet. Retweet’s can be used well when it enhances your follower’s experience. I have found that some bands simply do not consider this when retweeting. I aim to find out what a decent number of retweets per month actually is. For this research I have carefully chosen 10 bands who are active on Twitter, currently touring, and have recently or are soon to be releasing new material. The bands are Beach House, The Head and the Heart, Mumford & Sons, The National, Grizzly Bear, The Postal Service, Silversun Pickups, Local Natives, Two Door Cinema Club, and Grouplove. These names should sound familiar as I have highlighted their activity on Facebook and Twitter over the past two weeks, with the exception of The Postal Service. I expect to get a grasp on how often indie bands retweet. This is going to be challenging because a couple of the bands retweet like they’re getting paid to do so. I have tallied every retweet for these 10 bands in 2013, below are the results.

Beach House — 16
The Head and the Heart — 120
Mumford & Sons — 2
The National — 6
Grizzly Bear — 101
The Postal Service — 7
Silversun Pickups — 12
Local Natives — 8
Two Door Cinema Club — 10
Grouplove — 16

Remember, these 10 bands are active on Twitter; meaning they tweet more often than most. And as I stated earlier, they are currently touring and have and are releasing new material. These are 10 perfect subjects, they all have three things in common. So, what’s the first thing we notice right off the bat? The answer has to be The Head and the Heart and Grizzly Bear. They have combined for 221 retweets in 2013. That’s over-the-top, wouldn’t you agree? Especially when considering the other eight bands combined for 77 retweets. Coming in I knew there was going to be disparity, but I didn’t expect everyone to be pretty much around 6-16 retweets. I expected some zero’s and some much higher numbers. The fact that these two bands are both over 100 tweets proves the over-usage and ridiculousness of it. Other bands are tweeting almost as much overall, but use their owns words to draw attention to themselves; which is what Twitter is really about.

The overall average of the 10 bands is 29.8 retweets in 2013. But that’s obviously not a representation of what indie bands are up to. We have to take out Grizzly Bear and The Head and the Heart. To be fair we must also take out Mumford & Sons and The National’s numbers. So, the average that I think best represents the number of retweets (roughly every three months) for indie bands is 11.5. I feel strongly that this number represents the amount of retweeting that goes on in a three month span. With that being said, the retweet frequency per month should be around 4. That’s a safe number and a good amount of outside sources on your Twitter feed, any more than that and you could be causing trouble.

So, what are these retweets like? Are they band related at all? I am going to sample five retweets and we will discuss the effectiveness of them all.

These five were chosen at random from the bands. I didn’t want to prove a point by picking ones that would do just that, I wanted to examine the retweets. The first retweet is from The Head and the Heart. Someone gave them a tip of the hat for being “self-recorded,” and gave a #welldone. Effective? No, this type of retweet is no different than patting yourself on the back in my eyes. Is there anything wrong with that? Maybe not, but a Twitter space probably could be used other ways. The second retweet comes from Grizzly Bear, another band who has retweeted over 100 times in 2013. It’s a clothing company, I believe, that is excited about Grizzly Bear coming to Miami and giving a #heckyes. Another pat on the back, but a little more effective BECAUSE it points out a specific date and a specific location of a concert. This example in my mind is effective. The third retweet is via Local Natives. It’s absolutely effective because it links to a video of there own track, “You and I.” This video does not come from their own website or Twitter feed, it comes from a third party (WoodandWires). They were tagged, and HAD to retweet. Well done. Example number four comes from Two Door Cinema Club. Their clothing manufacturer posted new t-shirt options and tagged them in the tweet. The link runs back to their website. This is good. Without a link this tweet would be useless. It also states that there are “new offers,” which should bring customers. The last example is from Beach House. The only thing that could make this retweet better is if it stated where the 4/10 concert takes place. The content should be enough to peak most Beach House fan’s interest though.

So, we saw three very good examples, 1 decent one and one bad. The problem with retweets is that they can often give nothing back. An original tweet with very little content at least has the band’s personality and stamp on it. A retweet with no content offers nothing at all. To answer the original question asked in the title: in moderation.


2 responses to “Twitter Part 5: Is Retweeting Worthwhile?

  1. Pingback: Project Weekly Reflection 2: Twitter | In An Ocean of Noise·

  2. Pingback: Project Writeup | In An Ocean of Noise·

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