Tweets and Likes

Jan 30 '12

Here at The Monkey Cage we allow people to “Tweet” posts to their Twitter followers, and “Like” posts to their Facebook friends. Lately I’ve noticed that some posts get more tweets than likes, some get more likes than tweets, and others get roughly the same amount. Anyone have any idea why? Is there any research on this sort of thing on any other blogs? If anyone wants to scrape the data off of The Monkey Cage and run some analyses, I’d be happy to post the results as a guest post (would make a great paper for a stats class!). In the meantime, I’m just as interested in guesses.

To get us started, I’ll throw out three potential hypotheses:

  1. Humor vs. wonkishness hypothesis: The funnier a post, the more likely it is to go on Facebook; the wonkier the post, the more likely it is to get tweeted.
  2. The graphics hypothesis: The more graphics, the more likely it is to go to Facebook. The more text, the more likely it is to be tweeted.
  3. The source of visitors hypothesis: Visitors outside academia are more likely to post to Facebook; academics who read blogs are more likely to tweet.

To be perfectly clear, I have no idea if the data supports any of these claims. Who else has ideas?