The Twitter and Google+ feud has been escalating in the last few days. According to TechCrunch, Google CEO, Larry Page, said that its ten million users are sharing 1 billion items per day on Google+. Well, Twitter didn’t take that lightly. Through its Twitter Engineering page (@TwitterEng), Twitter announced that they have 350 billion items shared per day. Whoa. Considering that there are only 6 billion people in the world, that would mean that every single person in the world was sending 58.33 tweets a day. And I just know that my grandma is slacking. In the meantime, Facebook announced recently that users were sharing 4 billion items a day. With 750 million users, that means each person was only sharing 5 things per day. What gives, Friends? Why are you letting Mark Zuckerberg down? What has Twitter got that the good ol’ Social Network doesn’t? Things are starting to spiral out of control.
MG Siegler’s earlier TechCrunch article went on to say that these numbers are a bit misleading. Every time something is tweeted, every follower that receives it falls into that 350 billion number. So if Justin Bieber, he of the over 11 million followers, tweets something 10 times a day, his individual Twitter feed counts for 110 million of that 350 billion number that Twitter is hyping up. With the amount of people that have massive followings (Really, 8.3 million people? You all need to follow Kim Kardashian? 8,299,999 of you aren’t Kris Humphries. What gives?), that number starts to make some more sense. Since Google+ has followers within its circles, this stat works the same way for them. For Facebook, its numbers are a tad more honest. Whenever somebody shares a status, likes something, comments on a status, or does one of the countless other activities the site offers, it counts into that number. It seems reasonable to think that each person on Facebook has some sort of interaction on an average of 5 times per day. Though Facebook’s numbers don’t seem to match the high numbers that Twitter and Google publicizes, it is not as far behind as it might appear. In fact, the numbers that Twitter and Google brag about are misleading and to act like that they prove their significance in the field is manipulative. There needs to be a way for these social networks to measure their numbers against each other in a way that makes sense. For sports fans, call it social sabermetrics, if you will.
A New System
There needs to be a way to measure the actual amount of information being sent by all of these networks, and falsely inflating numbers by counting followers is a waste of time. Here’s a way to create a system that can properly assess the exchange of data on these sites.
Tweeters with under 50,000 followers: 1 piece of data per tweet. This counts personal accounts, small business accounts, and most comically fake accounts. Those are always fun.
Tweeters with 50,000- 1 million followers: 2 pieces of data per tweet. It’s not exactly fair to count all tweets exactly the same, since some reach so many more people than others. But, then again, it’s still just information going into the blogosphere so there shouldn’t be a huge difference regardless of how many pages it goes to. This should cover most bigger businesses, comedians, news websites, and lesser-known celebrities. Certainly not a Kardashian.
Tweeters with 1 million-8 million followers: 4 pieces of data per tweet. Now we’re at the big time celebrities. This covers either the celebrities that are so famous that even if they say nothing interesting, people will follow them, or smaller celebrities that happen to have a lot to offer.
Tweeters with 8 million followers and above: 8 pieces of data per tweet. I’m talking to you, Britney, Kim K, and Justin. Use your power wisely.
These same numbers apply to Google+. Their ‘following’ system is close enough to Twitter’s that we’ll use the same methods. For Facebook, things are a little bit different. People don’t follow each other in the same way, so it would need a separate system. See below for a possible new system to measure the data on Facebook:
Status Updates, and shared pieces of information: 1.5 pieces of data. Adding original content to many other newsfeeds, even if it’s just a link to something else, is worthwhile. 1.5 seems like a fair number to represent that.
Commenting on someone else’s update: 1 piece of data. This isn’t adding a unique item to the blogosphere, but it’s still original thought. One piece will do.
‘Liking’ something, or interacting in any other way: 0.5 pieces of data. This isn’t unique, and it’s not any sort of original thought. These can add up, but they shouldn’t count individually for any more than this.
Which company stands to benefit the most from this rankings change? Facebook would have to be one. Their numbers are pretty close to what this ranking would suggest, while Twitter’s numbers would go down by billions. Having a system that would be a standard for all three of these companies would prevent Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, and the engineering team at Twitter from having these shouting matches.They really aren’t too different from the good ol’ “I dare you times infinity!” to the “I dare you times infinity times two!!” battles from our youth on the playground. If we keep things the way they are now, the propaganda machines from these companies will continue to churn. It’s time to end the confusion.