How often should my company tweet or post to Facebook? Maybe never.

A friend of mine works for a big, I mean BIG, nonprofit. They have a Twitter account and a Facebook page. She asked me my opinion on the right frequency for posting to their social network streams. My answer to her was “never”.

I hear this question a lot. The answer is, “Post in whatever frequency your social graph demands.” It’s an easy answer, actually, but rarely the answer the asker is looking for. There is no fire code capacity beyond which will ban you for life from the social nightclub. There is only what is right for your unique mix of followers. If you’re answering questions, curating content, and starting discussions, you could conceivably post more than 100 times a day. See NPR’s Senior Strategist and one man tweet flood, @acarvin. On the other hand, the KISSmetrics Marketing Blog recently released an infographic on best practices for timing and frequency in Twitter and Facebook that suggests we should post to Facebook 0.5 times a day.


Image via Wikipedia

My friend’s company does not participate in online conversations. (Clarification update: It’s not that they have an official no-participation policy, but responses are purposefully extremely rare.)  That means that they do not respond to social media nor mentions in the press. Linking to or mentioning any entity or article online is out too, since it might be considered an endorsement. Participation in social media is a time and manpower commitment, and they do not want to spend time responding when they could be messaging.

Their current view of their Twitter and Facebook presence is one of broadcast messaging only. No conversations, no openness, no insight, just announcements.

Well, that’s hardly ‘social’ media at all! The purpose of having a social media presence should be to build 2-way, give and take, social relationships with your audience/customers/contributors that aren’t possible through traditional broadcast media.

To that end, I’d argue that participation and responding to their constituents via social media IS (or should be) a big part of their messaging. It shows they care about the individual contributor, they’re accessible, they’re listening, and that they’re an organization made of real people.

When I follow, friend, or add you to my social graph, I am inviting you into a mutually beneficial relationship. As a member of my social graph,

  • I expect value from your posts I can’t get elsewhere.
  • I expect there to be humanity and authenticity behind your posts.
  • I expect responsiveness. (think minutes and hours)
  • I expect your social media presence to be merely the technical vessel for communication with a real person I can engage with, and get closer to.

Make good on these expectations, and I’ll reward you with loyalty and by spreading your good reputation throughout my graph.

no tweet today

image by inezzy, on Flickr

Why the right answer for when her nonprofit should post is “never”.

It’s obvious that her company isn’t looking to make good on any of those social expectations. Their no-response PR practice calls them out as a bad friend, unworthy of social engagement. For them, it’s better to not have a social presence at all rather than having one that doesn’t even try to live up to to the expectations of the members of their social network. It might, in fact, be harmful to appear to have a social presence but be unresponsive when a constituent invites them to a conversation.

It’s a trite analogy, but what good is a having a phone number if you never intend on answering the phone? (Other than my case in which I need to have a phone number I don’t answer to have a data plan for my iPhone.)


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Digital Multitasking Stats, Where’s the Success in Social?, Social Listening in the Content Mix

WordPress gets Tumblry, Social for SEOs, Omnigraffle tips, Why PSDs Are Not the Deliverable

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SoMe infographics, Google’s Facebook killer, SlideShowPro goes HTML5, North reminds us that social media is not a channel

These are my links for June 29th through July 1st:

  • 10 Beautiful Social Media Infographics – I get pretty excited about pretty data. Good to see you, pretty data. Next stop for you guys? Keynote.
  • PayPal Launches Mobile Express Checkout To Enable One-Click Buying On Smartphones – Uh oh. Amazon is going to have something to say about this.
  • Cashmore: Google building a Facebook rival? Let’s hope so – – I’m looking forward to this for a couple reasons. First: competition is good for this industry. Second: I want to see how the “do no evil” Google mantra holds up in a social networking environment that is starting to push back on privacy. Watch for them to connect their search ad model. I smell new ad options in Google Adwords.
  • Introducing SlideShowPro Mobile – Video: The popular, robust slide show solution for Flash just released HTML5 support for non-Flash devices, eg iPad & iPhone.
  • The Social Media Problem for Companies – @daveatnorth from Portland agency North reminds us that social media shouldn’t be thought of as a fix for marketing your brand in this year’s web. Rather, it is a medium that makes it easier to act on our social nature. Let’s not forget that social media connects people and extends our ability to cultivate relationships. That’s the core purpose of participation in social media. Brands are guests at the party.

Author’s quick guide to Social Media Marketing, iPhone data plans explained, BP PR display ads, the useful 33% of Twitter users, jQuery for better columns

These are my links for May 31st through June 14th:

Find related links for blogging, Best tweets: Search Fest 2010, Compare finances via social, Who links to my site?

These are my links for March 9th through March 12th:

How many people use Twitter?

UPDATE (9/30/10):
Luke W provided recent Twitter usage stats this week complete with source links. Thanks, Luke.

UPDATE (4/15/10): The Huffington Post just posted actual Twitter user stats & figures from Chirp, the Twitter developer’s conference.

Here are the highlights:

  • Twitter now has 105,779,710 registered users.
  • New users are signing up at the rate of 300,000 per day.
  • 180 million unique visitors come to the site every month.
  • 75% of Twitter traffic comes from outside (i.e. via third party applications.)
  • Twitter gets a total of 3 billion requests a day via its API.
  • Twitter users are, in total, tweeting an average of 55 million tweets a day.
  • Twitter’s search engine receives around 600 million search queries per day.
  • Of Twitter’s active users, 37 percent use their phone to tweet.
  • Over half of all tweets (60 percent) come from third party applications.
  • Twitter itself has grown: in the past year alone, it has grown from 25 to 175 employees.


The actual figure for Twitter user stats is hard to get, unless you’re a Twitter employee. Here’s a list of links that are helpful in estimating just how many Tweeters are out there. displays a running total of the number of public Twitter users in it’s directory. analyzes number of tweets sent over the last 7 days. lists the most popular Twitter users by followers. shows the approx number of unique visitors to the site.

Finally, see Michael Arrington’s post about this topic on TechCrunch from April 2008.


For a look at the volume of tweets per hour and per day, check GigaTweet. Lovely graphs.

See also Quantcast’s analysis of These stats are only for the web site, and do not include desktop or mobile Twitter client users.

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