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The fleeting nature of social media messages

Pay attention to your audience. It’s a good way to learn if your message is getting through.

One of the ventures of Scheiderer Partners is the Seattle Astronomy blog. Last week I attended the annual confab of the Northwest Science Writers Association, and during the evening had a conversation with one of the blog’s regular readers. This reader expressed appreciation for our coverage of a variety of local space and astronomy events, but lamented the lack of a central calendar through which he could learn about such events in advance.


Finding the information you want on social media can be tough, no matter how closely you look! Greg Scheiderer, left, and Northwest Science Writers Association president Sally James were captured on camera at a recent event at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle.

Alas, I thought. I had, in fact, just recently created such a calendar on Seattle Astronomy. I wrote one post about it and backed that up with three or four tweets and several notices about it on the Seattle Astronomical Society’s Facebook page. Yet one of my loyal readers still had no idea!

It was a great reminder about the fleeting nature of social media messages. did an analysis that found the typical “half life” of a tweet—the time it takes a tweet to receive half of the clicks it will ever attract—is just under three hours. Facebook posts have a little more staying power, and YouTube entries a bit more, but not much.

Think about it: if you are away from Twitter for a couple of days (Horrors!) do you go back and carefully read all of the thousands of notes that have piled up in your feed? For most people, the answer is no. It’s easy for a message to get lost in the constant chatter.

I went back and set up a schedule for more tweets about the calendar from @SeattleAstro. I put another note out on Facebook. And I’ll be mentioning the calendar in all of my event-related posts from here on out.

My audience tells me they’re interested in that content. But, like an undiscovered comet or a tiny, distant dwarf planet, it can be difficult to spot in the social media universe. Provide your audiences with the tools they need to find what they want.


One response to “The fleeting nature of social media messages”

  1. […] repetitive sharing, social media shares have a tendency to get buried fairly quickly. A link can ostensibly live forever. […]

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