This is an interesting Sysomos Research study on the use of Twitter, based on a sample of 1.2 billion tweets between July and August 2010. The study concentrated on the reaction to tweets – retweets and mentions – and the characteristics of those reactions. By far the most interesting results concern the percentage of tweets eliciting a response and the practical timeframe for a response.
29% of Tweets Generate a Reaction
“We found that 29% of all tweets produced a reaction – a reply or a retweet. Of this group of tweets, 19.3% were retweets and the rest replies. This means that of the 1.2 billion tweets we examined, 6%, (or 72 million) were retweets.”
Most Retweets Happen in the First Hour
“We discovered that 92.4% of all retweets happen within the first hour of the original tweet being published, while an additional 1.63% of retweets happen in the second hour, and 0.94% take place in the third hour.
This means that if a tweet is not retweeted in the first hour, it is very likely that it will not be retweeted.
The graph below shows the fraction of tweets from the second hour onwards – the x-axis shows the time in hours since the original tweet, while the vertical axis shows the fraction of retweets within a particular hour. The 92.4% of all retweets, which happen within the first hour, are not displayed in the chart. 1.63% of retweets happen in the second hour, and 0.94% take place in the third hour.”