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Joanne Fritz

The Life Cycle of a Tweet and Facebook Post - Still Worth It?

By August 31, 2011

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As my Twitter stream was rushing by so fast that I couldn't read more than a few words, I valiantly grabbed a keyword here and there and did my retweeting for the day.

That made me wonder about the life cycle of tweets...and then I drifted to Facebook posts. How long are they good for?

A Tweet feels the heady flush of its young life within the first hour. It's middle aged at 12 hours, and is about to be buried by the time it is 48 hours old. This is what I gleaned from some interesting analytics from GaggleAMP, where someone had done a study. The max life of a plain old tweet is about 48 hours, but it gets most of its activity (73.8% of click through activity) within the first hour.

I asked John Haydon, social media expert, about the life of a Facebook post. Although mine are usually dead on arrival, I felt sure other people were having better luck.

John told me, "The shelf life of a Facebook post ranges from one hour to 12 hours. But when a facebook post is 'liked' either on FB or offsite through the ubiquitous like button, the reach and duration of the post is anybody's guess."

Haydon provided a cool infographic in his post from last year, The Shelf Life Of A Facebook Like.

So life is fleeting...or at least social media life, requiring consistent attention, savvy, and patience if you want to get your message out to your followers.

Fortunately some very smart people are working on the best ways to do this. For instance, Debra Askanase, writing at Socialbrite, has several Tricks to ramp up your nonprofit's Facebook Page, including how to better engage readers with your posts and newsfeed.

One way to make the most of those fleeting visitors to your FB page is to get them over to your email list so you can send them newsletters, a more leisurely way to inform and move them to action. John Haydon tells exactly How to collect email subscribers on your Facebook Page.

Dan Zarrella, the social media scientist, says not one word about Twitter without backing it up with the heaps of data he collects. Dan's 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Get More ReTweets is a great place to start soaking up his insights.

Twitter itself is a great resource for learning about how nonprofits and good causes can use Twitter. Twitter's head of corporate social innovation and philanthropy, Claire Diaz-Ortiz, has just released her book, Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time. You can download the first chapter by visiting the book's website. I have a date to interview Claire next week, so I'll have more about her book.

So, yeah, life, tweets, and FB posts rush by, all the more reason to learn to "fish" in those fast waters.

I've got to get back to angling for that big fish in my Twitter stream now. Do you know of more tips for engaging on social media or resources to share? I'd love to hear from you.


Photo: Getty Images

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September 1, 2011 at 8:07 am
(1) Claire Diaz Ortiz says:

Hi Joanne –

I’m very much looking forward to our chat later in the month to dive into some of these topics further;)


Claire Diaz-Ortiz

September 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm
(2) Geri Stengel says:

Interesting questions. It looks to me as if the value of a Facebook post can be increased by integrating it with older tools — email specifically. Integrated marketing/outreach is the key to success.

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