Saturday, March 2, 2013

Orchestras and Social Media

Here’s where we currently stand on social media usage in Australian (+NZ) orchestras:


The Melbourne and Sydney symphonies may be duking it out over Twitter and facebook, but once YouTube views are taken into account it’s a massive win for Sydney.  One interesting facet of its social media presence is the relationship between facebook “likes” and facebook “talking about” – a mere 3%.  Analysts say that counting “likes” is a poor indicator of the success or failure of a social media strategy, as building this number is simply a function of how many iPads you want to give away (“Like us today and you could win one of umpteen iPads!”).  The “talking about” metric is presumably a better indicator of engagement, as opposed to the simple (albeit legally contested) clicking of the little thumbs up icon.

Another thing to consider about the Sydney symphony is the astoundingly bad results they get on the “Stupid Fight” indicator, which measures the stupidity and/or banality of the tweets offered up by fans and followers of a Twitter user, based on the incidence of various stupid abbreviations (ROFL, OMG), overuse of exclamation marks (ROFL!!!), inability to distinguish between upper and lower case, etc.  Here’s the results of a head to head battle between the MSO and the SSO:


Note that MSO fans score a highly respectable “smart as a whip” 20, while the SSO strays into “thick as two short planks” territory with an astounding 300.  Perhaps this is correlated with the number of facebook likes (OMG!! i won an ipad!!!). Mind you, trumping them all is the ASO, whose small number of Twitter followers have compiled a remarkable 315.


Anonymous said...

Your theory falls apart when you take into account that the Sydney Symphony doesn't offer prize incentives for either liking on Facebook or following on Twitter. (At least, I've never noticed any such incentives. I think once they gave away a CD to the 2000th Twitter follower, but since it wasn't promoted it can hardly have counted as an incentive.)

As for Tom Scott's Stupid Fight, this is a bit perplexing. First his sample size is very low: the last 100 people to mention the account in question, so maybe 1.5%–2% of the fans. Then, if you take his criteria {Are they using twenty exclamation marks in a row? Do they endlessly use the abbreviation 'OMG'? Do they seem incapable of working out where their Shift key is?} and look at the actual tweets you'll see almost nothing of this kind of thing in tweets mentioning @sydsymph ( ) or @MelbSymphony ( ). The mentions in each case are pretty similar in tone and content. So how Tom manages to get such a wild discrepancy between the two is a bit mystifying.

ianw said...

I've not seen any incentives on Twitter, and don't follow them on facebook, but I think in general terms the warnings about use of "likes" in facebook as a proxy for social media success are well founded, as it doesn't tell us anything about ongoing engagement. The SSO numbers are surprising given that such a big group of "likes" could turn into such a small number of "talking abouts", but of course this just relates to the previous week, during which there mightn't have been much to talk about. It's worth watching how that one evolves over time.

As for Stupid Fight, I'm not really sure how this works, but it may not be just the tweets mentioning @sydsymph. I believe his system looks at the last 100 people to send an @reply to @sydsymph, and then looks at the last X tweets those people have sent, whether the tweets mention @sydsymph or not. I'm not sure how much science went into this!