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Computer Scientist at the Department of BioSciences, Rice University

Unexpected and expected RTs/fav behavior

tl;dr Twitter patterns of RT/fav vary widely depending on content and social ties.

My Twitter user name (@bam) often bring wrong notifications because someone made a mistake when typing some one else’s user name, or when the tweet gets truncated. I have seen various behaviors, some expected, some unexpected:


  • An organization with over 85K followers writes a tweet where they write my user name by mistake and delete the tweet in less than 10 minutes. Often this was enough to for that to be RT a dozen times.
  • Someone makes a mistake typing a somewhat popular music group, and it gets five to 10 RTs.
  • Anything related to nudity (partial or full, male or female), seems to get RT/fav easily a dozen times, and it continues to get a random RT/fav even two weeks later


  • Someone with over 13K followers writes what I consider a very important tweet and gets only 3 RT, 5 favs in two days.
    • I think that the text is not very clear, and the topic is not one that gets the attention it needs (violence toward girls and women in twitter)
  • Someone with less than 20 followers gets over a dozen RTs on the same day
    • I’ve seen this in 3 cases, where it turns out that the people doing the RT also had a small number of followers (under 50). These are likely tight communities. On one occasion, it was an update of someone buying a book. Another time it was something posting a photo with their kid in a park (not a fancy park such as Disney either).
  • The use of the @ symbol by other networks, such as instagram.
    • I’m not sure why other networks bother to use the @ symbol for user names. It would be nice if all of them decide to use similar valid user names. For example, in Twitter, the dot “.” is not part of a user name, as it is in instagram (and this is the reason I get notifications that are not mean to me)
  • Followers go up and down following no pattern.
    • It could be weeks with no new followers; then I get 4 on one day. The numbers do not mean much, considering that it is almost the same as in my Google+ profile (on which I’ve posted less than 10 times)

When I chose my user name, I thought about getting @ba, but then I remembered people complaining about the airline with those initials, and I knew I could not handle the bad comments. I’m glad I did not chose it.

Final comment: I’d like someone from Twitter to help me transfer my user name to an organization of my choosing, in a way that I can take another user name (I have a few in mind) but it is guaranteed that the other organization gets to keep @bam. There’s no money involved in any transfer, as it is a non-for-profit organization.

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