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Twitter Scorecard for Publishers

Recently Publisher’s Weekly published an article The Twitter Scorecard that showed which Publishers were using Twitter. I found the piece missing key elements that would provide more insight to their question “So who is twittering, and how effectively?” I believe that if you are asking how effectively we are using Twitter, there is considerable more data needed than was presented. In my opinion, the number of Followers is not a complete measure of effectiveness. In fairness, PW did not say they were attempting to be comprehensive or complete in their scorecard, so I thought I would provide the data that is available mixed with some of my own obtained by scraping. So, I’ll attempt to fill-in the scorecard a bit more.

First a note on who is behind the publisher accounts. O’Reilly as a company has oodles of Tweeters who blog about work, life, interests, etc., including @timoreilly who is nearing the half-million followers threshold. I suspect other publishers have the same army of tweeters too, but the data below is is just for the publisher account only. Oftentimes, these sort of accounts are run by PR groups in a Publishing company.

Below, you will find the same list of publishers contained in the original article with the addition of the following column headers and data:

Pub_Twitter is the Publisher account on Twitter. This list was created by PW and am not sure what the criteria was. Followers is the number of people that are following the publisher. These numbers are already off as many of these publishers have added many new followers since the original writing. I kept the same number that PW reported. Following is how many users the publisher follows.
Updates is how many tweets the publisher has posted since the account was created. Content is the most popular words the publisher uses in their tweets. Url is a link to a wordle that visualizes the corpus of tweets for the publisher. At the bottom of the table, you will see All Publishers which shows averages and the link includes all words in a visual wordle.

Pub_Twitter

Followers

Following

Updates

Content

URL

@AAKnopf

1,581

390

495

Book,
New, Read, RT

http://twitpic.com/5k982

@AtriaBooks

1,809

1,813

257

Book, ChetTheDog , Dog, New

http://twitpic.com/5k97i

@BantamDell

1,987

1,125

244

Blood,
Page, Free, Literary

http://twitpic.com/5k95r

@ChelseaGreen

5,003

5,296

4185

Green, RT, Thanks, Book

http://twitpic.com/5k93w

@DCComics

2,176

0

0

 

@DoubleDayPub

1,057

622

137

Lost,
RT, Pygmy, New

http://twitpic.com/5k908

@FreePressBooks

516

387

16

Book,
Check, Mason, tinyurl

http://twitpic.com/5k8yu

@GrandCentralPub

3,726

3,004

671

Thanks,
RT, Book, UR

http://twitpic.com/5k8xd

@GroveAtlantic

268

59

297

Wetlands,
Hely , Books, tinyurl

http://twitpic.com/5k8uc

@HarlequinBooks

2,187

159

776

Harlequin,
Romance, Author, Free

http://twitpic.com/5k8qn

@HarperPerennial

805

459

149

RT,
Book, Story, Read

http://twitpic.com/5k8oq

<p@LittleBrown

5,999

6,238

1359

RT,
Author, Scarecrow, Book

http://twitpic.com/5k8mj

@OReillyMedia

7,340

3,640

2073

O’Reilly,
RT, New, Book

http://twitpic.com/5k8l2

@ThomasNelson

678

834

182

Announced,
List, Best, Times

http://twitpic.com/5k8g8

@TinHouseBooks

892

162

58

Forgot,
New, Tin, Books

http://twitpic.com/5k8c7

@TorBooks

3,995

2,056

1525

Post,
Tor, Blog , New

http://twitpic.com/5k89z

@VintageAnchor

1,643

1,278

237

RT,
Tonight, Book, New

http://twitpic.com/5k86u

@VintageBooks

783

448

348

Vintage,
Book, Read, Books

http://twitpic.com/5k84j

@WorkmanPub

1,485

562

174

RT,
Book, Great, Books

http://twitpic.com/5k80s

All Publishers(avg)

2,312

1,502

  694

 

http://twitpic.com/5k9p4

I am thinking of making this a quarterly scorecard for 2009. Before I do that, are there meaningful and obtainable measures you would like to see added to the scorecard? What are the real measures: Sales increases? Information disseminated more efficiently and targeted? Increasing the feeling of community? What elements do you think should be measured in a Twitter Scorecard? Finally, if you are a publisher using Twitter and want to be included in future scorecards, let me know. I am mikeh {at} oreilly {dot} com or @mikehatora on Twitter.

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  • http://www.annickpress.com Joanna K

    Hi Mike,

    This is an interesting topic; I’m now tweeting on behalf of Annick Press (@AnnickPress) and am following a number of publishers as well. Please add me to your scorecard!

    I use Twitter to: provide information/links that my followers will like enough to retweet, contribute to discussions about books (especially children’s books) and publishing in general, and get the word out about our events, reviews, new books, contests/giveaways, and blog posts.

    I’m looking forward to meeting lots of fellow Twitterers in person at the BEA tweetup, too!

    Sincerely,
    Joanna K

  • http://www.weberbooks.com/publish.htm Steve Weber

    As they say, it’s quality, not quantity.

    On the other hand, there’s power in numbers.

  • http://scrawlbug.com SpikeTheLobster

    I think it’d be impossible to gauge quality. For example, I arrived at this post via Steve Weber (imagine me pointing to previous poster…), which shows that – for me – that particular Tweet of his had value.

    You’d have to know what each individual company hopes to achieve (in measurable terms, not just vagueries like “connecting with our readership”) to measure whether it’s successful.

    Personally, I think it’d be useful mostly as a reference resource for writers and readers. Sort of a one-stop shop for publishers on Twitter. ;)

  • http://pragprog.com Daniel Steinberg

    Over at Prag Progs, Dave (@pragdave) and Andy (@pragmaticandy) both tweet and we have @praglife for our new Pragmatic Life series.

    In addition, O’Reilly is our distributor for both our traditional Pragmatic Bookshelf titles and for our Pragmatic Life titles so we are interested in seeing the effects of Tim tweeting about our new titles to his half a million followers.

  • http://www.nap.edu Zenneia McLendon

    The National Academies Press is on twitter too! (@NAPress) This data is impressive and helps publishers put social media sites like twitter in perspective.

  • http://twitter.com/ChronicleBooks Guinevere de la Mare

    I’m the community manager at Chronicle Books and the voice behind our Twitter account (@ChronicleBooks).

    I’d also be curious to hear what PW’s criteria were. We’ve got 6,012 followers, 5,909 following, and 692 updates. Seems like we should have scored pretty well on this list!

  • bowerbird

    perhaps some perspective is in order?

    cory doctorow has 20,000 followers.
    tim o’reilly has almost half a million.

    and, just in case you’re wondering,
    aplusk is approaching two million…

    -bowerbird

  • http://10blockwalk.blogspot.com Molly

    I’m an children’s/YA editor at a major publishing house who tweets (@molly_oneill), as do a growing number of my editorial and agent colleagues. Twitter has become an invaluable tool for me. However, I think those of us tweeting individually, as professionals inside a house, are using Twitter in an entirely different way than those running the “official” accounts.

  • http://www.steamcrow.com Daniel Davis

    I’m a small, independent publisher (Steam Crow Press) who finds Twittering to be a great communication tool.

    @steamcrow

    We have just under 800 followers.

    - Steamcrow

  • http://therecessionista.blogspot.com Mary Hall

    Very cool to see. I’m glad to see the publishers using Web 2.0 It’s a perfect marriage of print and technology.

  • http://www.newmediapub.co.za H Lindsay

    Hello from South Africa

    Is anyone looking into magazine publishers and Twitter usage – specifically custom publishers?

  • http://www.ftaworldcorp.com Mike

    @ H Lindsay
    Hi, can you tell me more about the offer?

  • http://www.chestpresspublishing.com Jay Shum

    I’m an independent publisher; please add me to your list.

    @chestpressprint

    Thanks!