In the News


What Good is Twitter is a question recently explored by The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson in a piece entitled “The Unbearable Lightness of Tweeting.” Thompson delves into this question by looking at the reach of an article he published on the previous Monday, as measured by how many actually took the time to visit The Atlantic to read the full piece. Here’s the tweet in question:


And here’s Thompson’s aha moment:

“By Friday morning, it had about 155,260 impressions. According to the new Tweet activity dashboard, 2.9 percent of those users clicked the image, and 1.1 percent retweeted or favored it … but just 1 percent clicked on the link to actually read my story. One percent. Even worse, of the 9,017 people who clicked somewhere, anywhere on my message, just one in six of those clicks actually went to The Atlantic website. Quantitatively speaking, my viral tweet had the click-through rate of a digital display ad in East Asia.” – Derek Thompson, Sr. Editor, The Atlantic

It is not lost on us that Thompson specifically poses this question because he was hopeful that his tweet would result in click through to the actual article onThe Atlantic’s website. In other words, Thompson had high hopes that his article would have an increased conversion rate to The Atlantic website. And if we look at a key statistic from Pew Research Center’s 2014 Social Media Update – the fact that 23% of online adults currently use Twitter, up from 18% in August 2013 – perhaps that should have been the case.

Except, well, Twitter is a social media platform and the most valuable takeaway, in our view, is the way the message is shared beyond Derek’s 27.8k followers. So we took a look at the life of Thompson’s tweet specifically focusing on the social share. Our analysis sampled 1,000 of the 1,204 total retweets, here’s what we learned.

On Reach

We appreciate the number of impressions data point of 155,260 times the tweet was seen but wanted to also focus on the sum of @DKThomp’s followers and those who retweeted the tweet, also known as the reach. That number was an impressive 2,525,331.


On Depth

Depth is defined as the chain of retweet meaning how far each retweet travelled in terms of impact. The max depth of Thompson’s tweet was 10 effectively meaning the original tweet was retweeted by 10 chains or followers of followers. Take a look below.


On Lifespan

Everyone loves when a tweet gains momentum riding the wave of shares. But do you ever sit down and think just how long a given tweet’s life span actually is? Leaving no stone unturned we took a look at the lifespan of Thompson’s original tweet. Starting first with the half time between the current tweets activity and its 500th uniform random retweet within Twitter ecosystsem. For example, if an organization’s tweet is posted at 12pm and the uniform random 500th tweet is posted at 1pm then the tweets half-life will be one hour. We are happy to report the half-life of Thompson’s tweet as 10 hours and 13 minutes after the original tweet was posted. Using the same methodology, we analyzed the tweet’s 80% life and found it at 2 days and 6 hours after the original tweet.


As we can see, there is much more to a tweet than the impressions it receives. Derek Thompson may not have been completely satisfied with the click-through rate of his tweet, but the lifespan of his post far exceeds the half-life of the average tweet. Considering the average tweet only has a half-life of four minutes, Thompson’s 10 hours and 13 minute half-life fares pretty well. The time it will take for Thompson’s tweet to fade away into irrelevance is longer than he might think.

SKDKnickerbockers Head of Millennial Strategy Audrey Gelman

SKDK’s Audrey Gelman stopped by Fusion to discuss the results of their recent Massive Millennial Poll. Gelman, who leads SKDK’s Millennial Strategy Division, says that “this is a generation that is dedicated to social progress.” While millennials are highly committed to the issues, so too have they expressed the need for an easier, more convenient voting process more compatible with a 21st century electorate. ​Watch the full interview below.


We are seeking interns to join our team in our Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York City, and Albany offices for the summer. Candidates must have a demonstrated interest in Democratic politics, media, advertising, social media, or other related fields.

Ideal candidates will have full-time availability, strong writing and research skills, an understanding of the media, and the ability to handle multiple projects at once.  This employer is an equal opportunity employer with a strong dedication to diversity. Internships are paid positions.

Interested? Please send your resume, summer availability (from May to August), office location preference, and a writing sample to Please add your office location preference in the subject line of your email. The internship application process will close on March 13, 2015.

#SOTU vs. #SuperBowl 2015

Posted February 4, 2015


It’s just over a month into 2015 and we’ve already seen two of the most widely viewed telecasts draw extensive social media engagement – The State of the Union and Super Bowl XLIX. Tweeting thoughts and reactions during major televised events has become an essential part of the viewing experience. These internet-wide discussions have reached historic levels so far in 2015, with both the #SOTU and #SuperBowl garnering more activity on Twitter than ever before. Who controls these conversations? Whose voices are amplified? What themes are commonly discussed? At SKDK, we’re all about data so we examined Twitter activity surrounding these two highly talked-about events, which revealed a few key takeaways:

We analyzed two simple hashtags, #SOTU and #SuperBowl, to compare conversations about the two events. In terms of sheer volume, Super Bowl XLIX was a more widely discussed event, garnering over 3 million tweets on game day, whereas the State of the Union brought in 1.6 million tweets on the day of the speech.

Though there was a spike in tweets during Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler’s end-of-game interception, the Super Bowl’s most viewed tweets focused on non-football aspects of the event such as the halftime show and commercials, proving that the interests of the Super Bowl audience go well beyond the action on the field.

Men dominated Super Bowl discussions, with 61% of tweets containing #SuperBowl coming from male users.

The discussion surrounding #SOTU was slightly more balanced, with 55% of tweets coming from male users and 45% coming from female users.

Looking at the tweets that experienced the most exposure during each event reveals interesting insight into who drives social media conversations. The ten most retweeted posts during the State of the Union all came from government officials or the administration. Nine of those tweets either came directly from Barack Obama’s official Twitter or the White House account, demonstrating how successful the White House is at controlling the media narrative during the address.


During the Super Bowl, on the other hand, celebrities controlled the conversations, with seven of the top ten retweeted posts coming from actors or singers. The most retweeted #SuperBowl tweet was a post by actress Mindy Kaling referring to the Nationwide Insurance ad she starred in.


So, socially speaking, who came out on top: #SOTU or #SuperBowl? Considering the total number of those who participated in the #SuperBowl discussion this year as well as the geographic range of these tweets (36.9% of all #SuperBowl tweets on game day were posted outside of the U.S. versus a mere 8.8% of #SOTU tweets), one might consider Super Bowl XLIX the social media champion in this round. However, how much does this actually tell us about what kinds of people were watching the Super Bowl and the State of the Union? It is easy to make the generalization that the Super Bowl was a more popular topic of discussion on social media. But what if we zero in on Washington, D.C., the heart of U.S. politics? Were users in D.C. still more heavily engaged in the Super Bowl discussion than the State of the Union discussion?


An estimated 106 of the 2,357 retweets on this post came from D.C.-based users.

The difference is drastic. Analyzing the same two hashtags, #SuperBowl and #SOTU on their respective nights within the District of Columbia, there were 93,266 total tweets on the State of the Union as opposed to just 18,267 tweets on the Super Bowl. Even the rate at which Washingtonians were reacting to each event differed greatly. Whereas the #SuperBowl hashtag yielded 761 tweets per hour, #SOTU yielded 3,886 tweets per hour, reaffirming D.C.’s proclivity for politics.


Unsurprising that one of the top most retweeted #SuperBowl posts in D.C. was by Chris Matthews

We know that these days, people watch major television events with their smart phones in hand, ready to react and share their insights. This can serve as a major lesson for advertisers, campaigns, and brands, who need not only to get viewers to watch, but to also use their thumbs. And the more targeted your audience, the better insight social media analytics can provide.