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Average Twitter User Only Retweets 1 In Every 318 Links

So you are wondering why you your tweets aren’t being retweeted?

You are not feeling very influential?

Well, the latest research from Hewlett Packard Labs shows that (after analyzing 2.5 million users and 22 million tweets over 300 hours) only one in every 318 URL’s is retweeted.Average Twitter User Only Retweets 1 in every 318 Links

So you need a lot of followers who feel inclined enough to pass on your tweet to get some retweet action happening

The trick is not just getting their attention but getting them off the couch and hitting the retweet button.

In essence the ability to influence on Twitter is the power to

  • Gain attention (popularity through following)
  • Then make people take action (overcome passivity)

This influence is determined by many factors, such as

  • Novelty and resonance of their messages with those of their followers
  • Quality and frequency of the content they generate.

This scientific study by Hewlett Packard Labs has shown that just having a large quantity doesn’t make you influential. The most accurate measure according to the study was an algorithm they developed called the IP Algorithm (or Influence – Passivity Score) which they claim provides the most accurate measure of relative influence.


So below I have listed the assumptions that the team at HP used in their calculations for the IP (Influence-Passivity) Score

Measuring the influence score assumptions

  • A user’s influence score depends on the number of people they influence as well as their passivity.
  • A user’s influence score depends on how dedicated the people she influences are. Dedication is measured by the amount of attention a user pays to a given one as compared to everyone else.

Measuring the Passivity Score assumes

  • A user’s passivity score depends on the influence of those who they are exposed to but not influenced by.
  • A user’s passivity score depends on how much they rejects other user’s influence compared to everyone else

The study also assumed that the influence of a user can be both the quantity and quality of the audience that you influence.

So what top 10 tweeps did the HP team discover to be the most influential according to the Hewlett Packard IP (Influence-Passive) Algorithm

  1. Mashable – Social Media Blogger with 2,093,894 followers and on 56,687  lists
  2. Jokoanwar – Film Director with 83,839 followers and on 1,067 lists
  3. Google – Google News with 2,495,743 followers and on 46,155 lists
  4. Aplusk – Actor with 5,901,482 followers and on 59,775 lists
  5. Syfy – Science Fiction Channel with 48,867 followers and on 4,145 lists
  6. Smashingmag – Online Developer Magazine with 267,379 followers and on 21,854 lists
  7. MichellemalkinConservative Commentator with 112,602 followers and on 5,774 lists
  8. TheonionNews Satire Organisation with 2,410,864 followers and on 37,523 lists
  9. Rww – Tech/Social Media Blogger with 1,047,141 followers and on 11,463 lists
  10. Breakingnews – News Aggregator with 1,896,899 followers and on 32,178 lists

Image by Debh2u

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Hei from the fjord,

    What does Influence have to do with Trust and Confidence I wonder?

    Thank you for this article and video where I first discovered it.

    All our love to you and yours Bernardo and Jeff from you friends in Norway!

  • Interesting going over the list, I am so impressed with Smashing Magazine’s quick rise in social media. First heard of them on Stumbleupon and where they are also active. It’s a great site. RWW also a great site and never disappoint, no wonder it made the top 10 list, and Mashable is the king of social media so they really deserve to be there. Aplusk took Twitter by storm and quickly merged into the community gaining respect for quality tweeting and because he is very creative also. Breakingnews I would imagine use to be higher on the list, but I think have recently not been as breaking as they use to be, but they can recover. Google of course deserves to be there, they are merging into our lives.

    Great post, I enjoyed it.

  • Interesting to see how the number of followers didn’t dictate what number each of the top ten were listed as.

  • eric

    it’s important to understand the limitations of this “IP” score. It doesn’t seem to me (based on my first read of the paper) to be a measure of total influence — i.e., Smashing Magazine is not literally the 6th most influential stream on Twitter, it’s just got the 6th highest IP quotient, given the factors used to calculate IP quotient for this study.

    I.e., this is a first step. There’s not an applicable marketing metric, here, yet.

    Also notable: This only tracks link sharing. It totally ignores idea propagation that doesn’t involve link sharing (and there’s a lot of that on Twitter). Not sure why that was excluded.

  • eric

    Also, ‘passivity’ is a very poor term to use for what they’re measuring, which is the degree to which people are or are not influenced. That’s not passivity; ‘inertia’ is closer to the mark, but still not quite there.

  • Bert

    This study is more than a year old and Twitter has grown quite a bit since then. I’m not sure if the numbers in this study are still valid.

  • Well, I thought the post was quite interesting. thanks

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  • mika

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