How Many Tweets is Too Many?

Twitter is easy to use because, after all, it takes little time to knock off 140 characters (or less).

But just because a tweet can be done quickly, does it mean the number of tweets someone does per day is limited only by the amount of time they have to do it?

There are, for example, many people (including some high-profile bloggers, consultants and high-tech industry executives) posting 30, 40 or 50 tweets/day. It raises a few questions:

1. Why do they need to tweet so often?

2. Where do they get the time to do so many tweets? How do they fit all this tweeting in a day of work?

3. Is there anyone out there eager to receive this wave of tweets each and every day?

Personally, anyone who posts more than 20 tweets a day is probably creating noise rather than value. It is difficult to justify following someone who creates so many tweets because they can easily crowd out other people. As well, the quality of the tweets often fails to match the quantity.

A logical suggestion for anyone who tweets so often is maybe devoting their time and energy to a blog in which 500 words is completely acceptable. Of course, blogging is a lot more challenging than Twitter because you need to write in complete sentences, and provide context and perspective as opposed to a quick thought or idea.

To be fair, many people who tweet frequently are offering a wide variety of good content, which wouldn’t be possible if they focused on writing a blog post or two per day.

But you still have to ask whether tweeting 50 times/day is valuable and interesting, or self-serving and indulgent.

What do think? How many tweets/day is “acceptable”?

For details on the most active users of Twitter, here’s some information from a report we did last August.

29 Comments on “How Many Tweets is Too Many?”

  1. Interesting question, I’ll be interested to see what others think. I try to limit myself to under 10, and usually end up around 5 or so most days. But the real criteria is content. I don’t mind seeing a lot of good helpful content, but bore quickly of personal minutia, unless of course, I’m involved!

  2. Anytime I’m getting more than 10 tweets per day I start to consider an unfollow.

    There is such thing as too much of a good thing – even when it’s generally good content. Some people put out great material, but very infrequently. It can be hard to wade through the flood to find the nuggets.

    I suppose I could create another list and call it “gabby”?

  3. 1. If tweets are evenly spaced out in time, they overload fewer people.
    2. Real-time Twitter news feeds are often subscribed to *because* they cover ALL the relevant news on a topic
    3. Experiments by Twitter researchers have shown that the more you tweet, the more followers you get. Also the more you lose, but there is a net gain.
    4. Our tests show that more than one every 45 minutes starts to rapidly increase the number of unfollows

  4. What I find interesting is that those who are viewed as ‘Social Media Leaders’ tend to tweet incessantly, about everything. They’ll also routinely RT every tweet that mentions them.

    I’m looking at you Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan.

  5. I agree with almost everything Dave says. But at 200 tweets/day, I tweet much more than one every 45 minutes. Yet, every day there is a net gain in followers. And, according to one app anyway, I lose more followers during the periods when I’m *not* tweeting than when it’s a constant flow.

  6. Well, looking at my long term statistics, I produce on average about 20 tweets per day, or one every 72 minutes. Given the wonderful interactions I have with other tweeples, I have no intention of being either noisier or quieter.

  7. Under 10 tweets a day? Yeah right!
    You have to communicate with your followers.
    You have to be up to date with the news.
    You have to respond to others
    You need to promote blog entries
    You need to show some personality

  8. @Nikky Raney

    Good points. A person who tweets more than 10 times in a day is actually engaged with his/her followers in an active way.

    There’s no right or wrong way to use Twitter.

  9. Its those Internet Marketeers and Social Media Gurus, who do nothing but ReTweet, and add nothing original of their own that I tend to unfollow. Also those who use “bots” to auto tweet the same messages endlessly. If all that stopped Twitter would be a lot less noiser.

  10. When I’m getting 18-25 messages in less than an hour, they’ve got to go. Or if I’ve signed up for their website and they start advertising for friends ( many, many friends).

  11. OMG; I was waiting for this one. I just went on a major unfollowing campaign and it lightened up my life considerably.
    I would say that 10 a day (MAX) is okay, again if the material is of substance.
    I really don’t care to see photos of your dinner.

  12. when one asks: How many tweets/day is “acceptable”? i can’t help but wonder whether or not another more valuable part of the online engagement eqaution is being missed.

    already the tone of this post has pigeon-holed tweets as broadcast noise, that each tweet is equivalent to a power megaphone that adds to the dizzying cacophony of seemingly exhibitionist displays of information (whether valuable or trite)

    we should be reminded that the folks at twitter have been extremely diligent and carefyl at evolving the platform: the changes to the @ and RT functions alone (which caused such unnecessary grief and noise) have now allowed for a much better tweeting and information intake experience

    tweeting is also about dialogue (brief as most may be in many cases) but it is a two-way connection at times – this part of twitter is sorely underexplored and experts in the field of metrics and analysis should no better to ask one-dimensional questions like: How many tweets/day is “acceptable”?

    this line of thinking is somewhat tunneled into quantifiable equations, in the same same manner as flat page views are tracked.

    my 2 cents

  13. I agree that tweets that are part of conversations are exceptions to the rule because they reflect the power of Twitter. It’s tweets that are solely intended as one-way broadcasts that strike me as unnecessary and/or excessive.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Mark

  14. First, I love Twitter. But…sometimes when I’m tweeting with lots of RTs and @replies I wonder if I’m tweeting too much. Yet, without that I would not be engaging, would not really be networking. This is one area where the Facebook platform for commenting might work better. Though, in that case only people who also follow/friend your conversation partner see what you’re saying, whereas I think the Twitter platform facilitates new connections. I.e. I see a conversation one of my connections is having with someone I don’t know and it sounds interesting so I check that other person out too. Hmm.
    I suppose it’s really a question of how much time you have plus how many people you follow plus how many times those people tweet. Perhaps people tend to gravitate towards those who tweet similarly.

  15. I like twitter, but can’t take the overload. I follow 10 people max, and even that stresses me out with links to too many essays and articles. Some of my favourite tweeters only tweet every few weeks. To the people who say “engage your followers with 10+ tweets a day” I say quality over quantity – let me have my life or you’re outta here.

  16. Here’s one to think about though. For those that say more than 18 tweets in an hour is unacceptable … what if you were logged into twitter at the exact time that two of the people that you were following were having an ongoing and connected conversation via their @replies which, due to the nature of @replies, openly invites others to join in?
    Isn’t that what twitter is about? Being able to continually tweet and connect whilst on line at that moment in time? That moment lasting any amount of time from an hour or more maybe? It just might happen to be that you arrived on line at the exact same time (which may or may not be a regular time each day)
    Some people choose to tweet between 6 and 7pm in the evening. Others choose a different time of day.

    IF there is someone who is taking over YOUR timeline as you put it… then maybe that’s because the other people you are following are inactive or only tweet a couple of times a day. And those couple of tweets might be at totally different times so you wouldn’t even see them unless you searched back through your timeline. I think it far better to follow people who are actively tweeting and holding conversations now and then.

    I feel…. as long as your tweets are valuable to your followers and are about being connected and working in some sort of harmony with your twitter connections then you can tweet as many times as you like. If a few unfollow you… focus on delivering good tweets to those who are STILL following you and forget about the others.

    AND whatever you do… pay attention to others tweets and search out their great blog posts and show them your support and appreciation by either retweeting or pushing the “like” button or “tweet this” button on their posts.

    QUOTE

    “The organizational architecture is really that a centipede walks on hundred legs and one or two don’t count. So if I lose one or two legs, the process will go on, the organization will go on, the growth will go on.”
    Mukesh Ambani –

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  18. I have already unfollowed a couple or more accounts because they tweet way too often. When you follow more than a dozen accounts, then a high number of tweets per day (per hour!) from several of those accounts can be quite overwhelming. I spend too much time in front of the computer everyday as it is, so would prefer not to be inundated. I understand that Twitter is meant to be conversational, and I do enjoy using it, but in small doses.

    Great article, and just what I was looking for! 🙂

  19. The issue has been somewhat confused. The question should not be how many TOTAL tweets/day. @replies are only seen by followers of both parties, so I don’t consider this spam. Instead it is having a conversation within a closed circle of friends. The real question is RTs and original tweets.
    You should keep a very tight reign on RTs. Too many RTs/day is going to get you unfollowed real fast.
    But OTs (original tweets) are much different. You have some leeway here. I am much more interested in what you have to say than what other people are saying or even what you think is interesting that other people are saying. That is why I am following you. The occasional RT may persuade me to follow that other person, so only RT their very best content.
    Rules of Thumb:
    1. No limit on @replies, but use good judgement
    2. Keep RTs to a minimum – 2-3/day tops, unless you are a professional blogger/writer who lives online.
    3. About 5 OTs/day. Maybe 1 less if you RT often, maybe 1 more if you never RT.
    Disclaimer: Everyone has a bent toward either quality or quantity. Be willing to push yourself to the middle ground that maximizes both.

  20. Oh, god.. I tweet over 100/day on somedays..i go on tweet limit LOADS!:L i should just stop talking to people.. (i have really long conversations!)

  21. I found this piece via Search because I had become tired of 5-8 Tweets an hour from Maria Popova, aka Brainpickings. Her Tweets crowd out everyone else’s, and they aren’t really a conversation. They are pushing out promotions of her voluminous blog postings. I truly wonder if she actually eats, sleeps, or performs bathroom duties, and I am about to unfollow her and instead, read her blog via an RSS feed that I access at my leisure.

    As interesting as most of her content is, it’s just too much and too one-sided for what Twitter should be in contrast to a blog, IMHO.

  22. Addendum to previous comment: Popova has a footnote asking for donations because she spends 450+ hours a month curating content. That’s 15 hours a day. Again, how does she make a living or have a life?

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  24. I find the constant tweeting by some tweeters is annoying. I think more than 10 a day is too much unless you are reporting on news that matters or are really funny. I eventually unfollow excessive tweeters.

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  26. Hi guys, just wanted to add to this because a follower of mine made me think today.On average I tweet my content around 11 times per day,half of my tweets are my music and videos, reviews about my music (I’m a singer/song-writer) and then another 6 tweets about bands I like etc. All my tweets are music related or videos or stuff that I like. I havea good interaction with my followers, get retweeted a lot and RT back. One of my followers today said ”Woh just heard your music it’s amazing, bought the album you should tweet your stuff more often” so that made me thinking and I asked her if this was the first time she had seen my music’s tweets. She said that yes and that she just has 55 followers so she was guessing that more people are not catching my tweets. I have 18K followers. So I am really considering to get it up to 15-20 tweets per day let’s say one per hour between 8:00AM and 12:AM and see how that goes. But it really made me thinking. Had it a few times now were people tweeted stuff like ”why wasn’t I listening” or similar tweets indicating that my tweets do not reach people!
    Glad that I found this forum I’m @emutemusic by the way!

    Cheers
    Theo 🙂

  27. I have just recently fallen into the twitter trap in order to get people to follow my blog. Some of the people I have followed bust out 4 tweets in a row, and it’s a little tedious especially if they are virtually redundant. I believe that the number of tweets you produce should correlate to what you want out of twitter. If you want a lot of buzz, you have to create a lot of noise. Anyway, that’s just one person’s opinion. If you think about it 50 tweets a day wouldn’t make a dent in any text-savvy person’s daily allowance of downtime.

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