How good is your Twitter account? by Matt Holland

How is your Library Twitter account performing? How do you know if it’s doing well?   Questions that have bothered me for a while.  More now that I am putting an extra effort into upping the (re)Tweet.  I also notice that colleagues are trying harder too. Branching out into creative photography, even adopting mascots! Jobe the Dog (left) has volunteered to be the NWAS LKS mascot on a Treat per Tweet basis.  Oh yes, and before you read further the statistically sophisticated might want to find an interesting spreadsheet to read.  You’re probably going to get stressed by the abuse of numbers that follows.


What does an average Library Twitter account look like?

To find the answer I (more or less) randomly selected 50 NHS Library Twitter accounts and averaged the key numbers.  Here they are …

Of course, there were a few outliers, some libraries don’t bother Tweeting and some seem to do nothing else.  So here is a frequency count on a scale from anyone remember the Twitter Password? to Tweettastic.

One other interesting number. The average NHS Library Twitter account is about four years old.

More stats

Apparently, there are currently six thousand Tweets per second.  See the Twitter Usage Stats real time Tweet counter.  An NHS Library Twitter Rate measured in seconds seems like overkill. The same goes for minutes, hours, days and months.  So, years it is.  The average Tweet rate is 766 Tweets per year per account which works out at just under two Tweets a day.   Most are in the lower end of the distribution but some accounts are really going for it.

Anything else

What else can you do with these numbers? Well what about a Do you feel loved ratio.  We all check our account notifications every now and again to see if anyone has noticed/liked our Tweets.   The number of Tweet to Likes.   The average is 49 Tweets for every Like.  Some are clearly unloved, 1 like for every 266 Tweets and some are just the talk of the Library Twitter sphere with more Likes than Tweets, that’s a Do you feel loved ratio of 0.50:1 or two likes for every Tweet. That figure does seem incredible though!

The Big Reveal

So how is the NWAS LKS Twitter account doing?  Not really a secret but compared to the average its doing all right.

If you want to help the stats along please visit Well, you have to try don’t you.

Matt Holland
Librarian,  NWAS LKS
NWAS LKS is supported by HCLU North


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3 Responses to How good is your Twitter account? by Matt Holland

  1. Tom RoperT says:

    Interesting stuff, Matt. You say your sample period was a year. Could you clarify please, was that the calendar year 2016, the financial year 2016-17, or some other twelve month period?
    As a Twitter purist, I’d argue that likes are a poor measure of anything, and retweets might be better.

  2. matthewjholland says:

    Hi Tom, thanks for commenting. Agree with you on Retweets, The effort it takes to read and share a Tweet is greater then just clicking the Like button and therefore has more value as a metric/measure. The problem in an exercise like this is getting comparative data for Retweets to generate a Retweet rate for each account.

    On the average it is 12 months, but yes I did cut corners, and so the start year and 2017 – it is only October are incomplete years. Sufficient for this exercise but a little lose on accuracy.

  3. I know you’ve got your wonderful pre-hospital twitter feed, Matt, but I wondered if any other librarians out there were using twitter as a current awareness service on a particular medical topic instead of news items about their libraries? It seems to me to be a really overlooked opportunity. I’m based in Worthing and run 2 twitter feeds on breast surgery and paediatrics. I spend about 20 mins per week on them, and they are available to the whole of the NHS (if not the whole world), so I think this is more cost effective than producing a paper current awareness bulletin, which could only be used in our own hospital. Twitter also offers the opportunity to have co-editors anywhere in the UK, so I could share this role with someone else, even if based elsewhere in the UK. It seems to me, a great chance for NHS Trusts to collaborate on a project, as opposed to each trust compiling their own current awareness services.

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