Behold The Power of Twitter

At noon today, I had an opportunity to conduct a Twitter training class for physicians from one of our clinical departments at Mayo Clinic.

I wanted to show them the reach and speed of Twitter, and how it can spread messages widely and quickly. So, at 12:28, I put out this tweet to my Twitter followers:

Within seconds, the responses started coming in:

Update: I went back to Tweetdeck to capture the actual times of the tweets. I think it makes the speed of the spread even more interesting. It also shows the half-life of a tweet.

The tweets above all arrived in the first hour. Since then, a few more trickled in…

Altogether, that’s 57 replies or retweets from 21 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

The total potential reach of the message- to my followers plus the followers of those who tweeted – was 66,986. Of course not everyone among those followers saw the message. If they didn’t happen to be watching Twitter at the time, they missed it.

Still, I think that’s pretty amazing for a lunchtime experiment.

Thanks to everyone who participated by replying or retweeting!

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

8 thoughts on “Behold The Power of Twitter”

  1. You’re welcome! I’ve taken a hint from you and others who have done this and used it to demonstrate the power of Twitter to one of our VP’s. He was quite impressed with the instantaneous nature of the results.

  2. I think I got this technique from you and recently used it during a 2-day workshop I was delivering at Loyola Press in Chicago. Not only did it effectively reveal geographic span of participation but also the diversity of interests within the Twitter community.

  3. Lee,
    Thank you for giving me and your other followers the opportunity to help educate more professionals about the “real” benefit of Twitter.

    The “experiment” was a wonderful experiential way to make your point. When presenters involve their audience they ensure positive results and will never be labeled as “boring speakers.”

    Because you have concentrated on relationships from the very beginning, instead of collecting huge numbers you have gained the trust and respect of such a wide audience.

    Again, thank you for sharing your message with both your internal and external customers.

  4. Thanks for your comments, and for participating in our little exercise. The physicians involved were amazed. Some maybe didn’t understand why anyone would want to respond like you did, and why you would take time out of your day. One said “Don’t they have work to do?” I did point out that 99 percent of my followers didn’t respond, and that those of you who did were among those who just happened to be checking Twitter at the time. It was a good chance, though, to help them understand the generous spirit of social media, and Twitter in particular. We definitely had a few of the physicians really liking it and seeing the potential for their work, and you all helped with that. Thanks again!

  5. Re: “don’t we have work to do” — I think many of us who responded probably consider using Twitter as an important part of our workday. We were working by being on twitter (or at least I was!); and if we could take a couple of seconds to help spread the word about social media, all the better!

  6. It was helpful to “hear” the comment “don’t they have work to do?” I’ve often heard the same comment when I discuss Twitter.

    Like Brycie, I too was working when you placed your request. Earlier that morning while working on a Customer Service Program I’m developing I took a short break to look at my Twitter account.
    I found the following article The Steve Jobs Theory of Customer Relations from the Harvard Business Review that was only two days old.

    I think the next time I hear the comment re: working instead of feeling defensive I just might quote Jason Fried: “Twitter is the modern day smoke break.”


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