Do you know who’s clicking on your Twitter links, and why?
I was a management consultant in a former life. I just can’t help myself. I love the D-word. Yes, DATA! (What were you thinking?)
I love data. I love pouring through numbers and information, trying to make sense of things, tying actions to consequences, and attempting to explain the incomprehensible (like why some books sell and others don’t.) Recently, I turned my data-hound skills to a real-life mystery of my own: Who’s clicking on my twitter links, and why?
I use bitly to shorten links to Perfection Unleashed‘s product page on Amazon. I use that bitly link only on Twitter, specifically for the purpose of tracking how many people click on it. Bitly also tells you which countries they are from. Last week, I joined World Literary Cafe’s Tweet Teams (more on that wonderful group another day), and actively tweeted out promotions for other authors in exchange for my promotions getting tweeted.
The number of clicks through the bitly link to Perfection Unleashed jumped (no surprise there) but the data did hold one surprise…
This chart shows the country of origin for the clicks. Before I joined the Tweet Teams, Japan was in third place, after the US and Great Britain. After several days with the Tweet Teams, Japan was solidly in second place, and closing in on the US.
What on earth happened?
My Twitter followers are predominantly English-speaking, likely US- and GB-based. I have few (if any) Japanese followers, and if they had retweeted out my tweets, I would have known. Obviously, someone on the tweet team has many Japanese followers, or had a Japanese follower who retweeted the promotion for Perfection Unleashed. But why would so many Japanese click on a promotional tweet for Perfection Unleashed?
I was completely befuddled, and shared my confusion with a friend, Tina, who, though not Japanese, had lived in Japan. Together, we browsed the Japanese version of Google and Amazon (she reads Japanese, phew!), trying to figure out what about my tweets made Perfection Unleashed an apparent superstar in Japan. Tina hypothesized that the Japanese reader had latched on to a word or two in the tweet, and clicked through.
I dug out my World Literary Cafe tweets for the days when my Japanese hits had spiked, and we looked for key words. We found the culprit tweets immediately:
“Zara is the daughter I wouldn’t wish on myself, my friends, or my worst enemies” and “On a good day, Zara could wreak more havoc with love than most people could with hate.”
Zara, the name of my female protagonist in Perfection Unleashed, is also the brand name of a European fashion line that is extremely popular in Japan. I don’t have indisputable evidence to support this conclusion, but there’s a good chance that there are some very disgruntled Japanese people out there who clicked through on the link, expecting to see the latest fall fashions from Zara, and found a book on Amazon instead…
The world is a small place, and getting smaller each day, creating all sorts of opportunities for misunderstanding. Words that mean something to us in English could appear very similar to slang for something nasty in another language. For example, in the US, we use the word “neat” to describe something cool. In Japan, “neato” is a derogatory slang term used to describe someone who has made a wreck of his life.
If you have a story to share of your Twitter or other social media misadventures due to cultural and/or language issues, please share! I’d love to hear from you.