Monday, 3 December 2012

Why TwentyFeet is Total Twash

Yet another Twitter analytic tool has made it into the spotlights: Twentyfeet
Like most if not all other tools that try to measure Twitter stats (Klout, Tweetlevel), it horribly fails. Apparently it's too much work or money to actually measure all tweets, and do they take a sample and extrapolate - or rather, sugguestimate - the rest

That, or they really just can't count

Let me show you a few examples: my fellow tweep Dick Hirsch tried the service. A week ago, he tweeted:

Today, his TwentyFeet auto-tweet said:

What's in between? Not a single RT, 15 mentions, and 4 direct @replies (and @reply is where your Twitter handle is at the very beginning of a tweet, a mention is where it's somewhere else, and not preceded by RT)

So, accurate? Hell no, this is so off that it is way beyond embarassing. Zero RT's in stead of 13, and more than double the amount of mentions.
I decided to do some cross checks, and checked their advocates to see how their numbers added up.
Mari Smith apparently stopped using the service, or at least tweeting her stats. Too volatile and unpredictable? Who knows.
Robert Scoble? Likewise. Lars Hinrichs? Dito. Stefan Keuchel? Take a wild guess...

So, on to other people then, to find out if anyone is proudly enjoying accurate stats?

I decided to take the last 100 tweets in which 20ft is mentioned. 13% trumps their stats, averaging 1 tweet an hour - worldwide on Twitter

  • Joonas Lyytinen: "1 retweets received, 9 mentions" - that could be exactly right, just about - I don't see the RT and only 8 mentions, but let's not be overzealous
  • Red Educa: "65 retweets received, 1 new listings, 12 new followers" - this is odd. Apparently literal copies of tweets by Red Educa, ending with "via @Red_Educa", are counted as RT's? Even if I count all these and native RT's, I reach a total of 19 - the total tweet total is 45! Regular tweets, @replies, mentions and RT's all together
  • Mr Lowkey: "59 retweets received, 57 new followers, 165 mentions" - any good? I count 33 RT, 36 mentions, and 78 direct replies to Mr Lowkey
  • Michelle Hoyle: "1 mentions" - I count none, only a few direct @replies
  • Peoplewerx: "1 retweets received, 6 new followers" - I count none, and nothing else
  • Comision Filmica: "1 retweets received, 15 new followers, 2 mentions" - I only count 2 direct @replies
  • The Israel Project: "105 retweets received, 3 new listings, 105 new followers, 42 mentions" - I count 148 tweets in total... and 24 RT, 13 direct @replies, and 24 mentions
  • Tanya: "156 retweets received, 13 new followers, 215 mentions" - 320 tweets in total in a week, of which 220 by Tanya herself. But, let's finish this sordid task. Zero RT, 86 direct @replies, and 16 mentions
  • Davis & Shirtliff: "2 new followers, 2 mentions" - 1 tweet a day, no RT's or mentions or @replies whatsoever
  • Leilani: "955 retweets received, 47 new followers, 420 mentions" - looks like a joke, given the #mwuah at the end. Leilani has 142 followers, let's leave it at that shall we?
  • Nanda Oziel: "12 retweets received, 27 mentions" - 13 RT, 18 direct @replies and 0 mentions
  • Moon: "16 retweets received, 21 new followers, 118 mentions" - sigh. 2 RT, 104 direct @replies, and 29 mentions
  • Sir Farukh: "197 retweets received, 1 new listings, 33 new followers, 200 mentions" - 

The verdict? It's too bad that Twitter stopped showing the application that sent a tweet. There are clearly a few pranksters active around TwentyFeet, but even more clear is that their stats just don't make any sense at all. Their average seems to be off by 100-200%, and what they define as mention or @reply must remain a mystery for a while, as their FAQ page gave me a nice 404, sent by their Apache Tomcat/6.0.32.
Just as their About page btw, and their Features and Pricing

Anyway. In other news, life goes on, another Twitter anal-yst tool bites the dust. Surprised? I certainly hope not. At least they got the Klout-message clear: avoid any and all transparency like the plague (that's where Tweetlevel currently goes wrong - more on that later)

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