Results from the Quiz on Probability of Retweet

Remember the question I posed some time back on finding probability of a tweet with a link being retweeted? The quiz was a fun way to make the audience realize for themselves the futility of any tips they see on improving retweets. 390 people took the quiz and answered it, (40 because I asked, 350 because Avinash Kaushik asked).

Here are the results. Big thanks to SurveyGizmo for its amazing survey platform. The reports pretty much write themselves. You should not even try anything else for running your surveys. For all percentages you see the base is 390 responses.

For the first question I presented the only data that I saw in the report I quote. The answer distribution looks like this

One could say, close to two third are likely to believe and accept whatever is implied by the commentary associated with a partial finding. While 36% asked for more data  only a third of them asked for the right data, the percentage of tweets retweeted, that will help them answer.

After they answered the first question I provided the additional data, percentage of RTs. I provided as optios the correct answer , the two wrong answers from previous question and two bogus answers. The answer distribution looks like this

About one in five found the answer (answer is 16%). It is likely that, even in the presence of additional data,  four out of five people can be convinced to accept a different answer. For example, when a spurious conclusion is presented in the form of a fancy infographic or presented by someone popular. When you see 5000 people tweeted an infographic that talks about scientific ways to improve retweets, it is hard to stop and do the math.

The takeaway is, it is hard for folks to stop and take a critical look at social media findings reported. It is even harder to seek the right additional data and do the math. So most yield to mental shortcuts and answer the easy question.

Note that this 16% number is calculated only to show you what is the average.  But average hides segments. Likely there are multiple segments here. For some, link or not, everyone of their tweet may be retweeted.  The only takeaway is this is a probability calculation and not a recipe and as we collect more data the probability will change.