Saturday, January 1, 2011

"You Should Follow Me On Twitter" Meme Is Cargo-Cult Bullshit

A guy on Hacker News this year A/B-tested phrases to see which phrase got him the highest number of Twitter followers. The phrase: "you should follow me on Twitter here."

A/B-testing is extremely contextual. It is also extremely situational, which is to say, contextual with respect to time. It does not assign causality and it does not have any method to reach blanket conclusions which would apply to any and all users of Hacker News.

If you are wondering what phrase will get you the most Twitter followers, the answer is not necessarily "you should follow me on Twitter here." The answer is to A/B test and find out. Likewise, if you tell people that they should follow you on Twitter, omitting the word "here" - which word was in fact the money shot in the A/B testing guy's analysis - you cannot guarantee a rise in Twitter followers, and you cannot guarantee the accuracy of the statement either. In practice, most people who tell me through the Internet that I should follow them on Twitter are incorrect.

ALSO, any metric of Twitter followers which does not consider who those followers are is an insane and useless metric to begin with.

You should follow me on Twitter here.