I could never figure this out before. I didn’t know who to follow. I like following others who retweet others. But, if they retweet others too much, that makes it hard to see what they are tweeting themselves. Additionally, those who retweet others too much, tend to not be very selective. They will retweet anything.
I love Lonely Planet’s Twitter account. They have over a million followers and tweet only the best. But, they retweet others too. I like to follow those who they retweet, because they have the highest taste in who they retweet!
What I learned is that those with high tweet: follower ratios tend to retweet junk all day long, or they just publish nonsense tweets themselves. They will clutter your inbox with unwanted retweets. Many people on Twitter don’t even read their inbox. What is the point of following someone if you don’t want to read what they tweet? I like the idea of being able to favorite an account, not only a tweet. I would like a separate inbox for accounts that I favorited so I can read what I really only want to read when I’m being selective.
It is very impressive to see someone who has tweeted only a little bit, but has zillions of followers. If they use PPC, they can achieve this, so the results can be deceiving. But, I consider an account with a low tweet:follower ratio to potentially be high quality. It means they get lots of followers without tweeting much which indicates that what they are tweeting is getting retweeted a lot more than average and is being appreciated by those who receive those retweets enough for them to want to follow the twitter account responsible for the tweet.
Another point to consider is that as an account reaches over 1000 to 10,000 followers, it is possible that they might grow considerably from being retweeted, which means that their tweet:follower ratio might go down as they tweet less to more followers and get more retweets than they would have if they were a smaller account. So, for accounts over 1000 which are really only about 5% or less of twitter accounts, I assess the ratio more demandingly to assess quality!
I am proud of the fact that my travel twitter has a tweet:follower ratio of about 3 which is outstanding. My other personal twitter accounts are around 5. The accounts that retweet endless junk all day long are around 70, while average folks on twitter are around 8 tweets:follower. Big accounts like Lonely Planet would have a ratio of about 1/10 or less as they often get dozens of followers for a single tweet. I don’t have a formal average, and I don’t want to take the time to crunch random numbers, but this is my eyeball estimate, and it is good enough for the informal analysis and analytics I am doing.
On a final note, I will mention that the accounts that Lonely Planet retweets have very low tweet:follower ratios, which in a sense proves my general hypothesis that a low tweet:follower ratio indicates potential quality of a twitter account.