Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Impact of a tweet

I was just thinking about whether we can come up with a formula to measure the impact of a tweet just like we measure acceleration (v = u + at), force (f = ma), etc. in high-school Physics :-)

The following looks to hold:

impact ∝ ((rate of tweeting) * (quality of the tweets) * (number of followers) * (average frequency of checking tweets by followers)) / ((avg. number of people your followers follow) * (avg. rate of tweets your followers see))

It is not so simple as I initially thought; Number of retweets, the @ tags or # tags also can have a very positive effect. And, rate of tweeting could have a negatively effect as well - for example, if you are a fast tweeter people may simply ignore your tweets as junks. Quality is also a very subjective term. Also the relationships could well be nonlinear.

Another thing I was thinking about was how the rate at which information reaches us has evolved over time. 10 years ago, we used to rely mainly on the morning news paper, but now within minutes we have access to tweets and blogs to get our hands on the latest. So, how much is the acceleration of information? Roughly speaking, the acceleration ∝ (a day - a few minutes) / 10 years. The velocity at which information reaches us keeps on rising - I feel like the current velocity is already higher than our brain can 'run' - we are overloaded! We will need to add some 'friction' to slow it down :-)

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