Thanks to agreements like BTFon with BT, SFR, Zon and other carriers and to the introduction of the Fonera 2.0n, Fon is now profitable. We now sell in one day what in January of this year we sold in a week. That is great news. But we still don’t have money to spend on advertising. We are only doing some advertising through partners. For example in Spain, we just launched the Fonera 2.0n in the chain PCcity . As a result we are featured in their advertising. But other than piggybacking cases like this Fon grows mostly on word of mouth. And in many cases Fon grows through the word of my mouth. These words are generally spoken on Twitter. It is because of this that I became curious in knowing “the second derivative” of Twitter. I wanted to know not just how many followers I have in Twitter but what is the sum total of the followers of my followers. I nedeed to find this out in order to measure my RT or retweet potential, something I call Twitter Reach. RT it is becoming a way of spreading news that is faster than Digg or other news amplifying sites. It is instantaneous. It is viral. And it is not the same to be followed by followers with very few followers themselves but by extremely popular bloggers. The latter give you more Twitter Reach.
I asked Javier Mares Romero from my team to help me find out, beyond my 7200 followers on Twitter, how many people could I possibly reach if I was retweeted by everyone who follows me. I know this is not realistic but that would set a maximum. I was shocked at the number: it is 12,828,899 people. To give you a sense of what that number means to Fon I share with you that after 3 years of hard labor we are now the largest global WiFi network, but, we only have 650,000 fonspots (T Mobile btw has less than 50K). But I know that almost all my followers and the followers of my followers have WiFi routers. So they are our target. This is the value of Twitter for Fon (how this is the value of Fon for Twitter deserves another post, it is still not clear to me).
Now obtaining this result was not easy because there is a limit on the number of data requests you can make on Twitter. To obtain this data we used a Python script with a Tweepy library functioning on a developer account. But somebody should look into this and come up with a real and easy Twitter Reach or Twitter Power measure. This index should show the number of followers of your followers. It would be also great if clients like Seesmic Desktop color coded followers according to the number of followers that they themselves have. I know you may think this is elitist but that is what Google does giving sites Google Rank. There clearly is a Google intellectocracy. We now have a Twitter one as well. It is just not that easy to rank and find with color codes. It would also be interesting to be able to send Tweets that go to groups of followers or at least to be able to sort them by language.
Here is a spreadsheet showing who my followers are and the number of followers of my followers. I was surprised when I saw the results not only because of the absolute total but because I had 79 followers with more followers than myself. I guess in Twitter it´s like in Tennis. You look better when you play with a pro, or in this case, when a pro listens to you.
Before ending I would like to say that in my Twitter history less than 10% of my tweets relate to Fon. Or if they do, like this post, they don´t directly relate to promoting Fon but to share with my followers, as I do with the readers of this blog, what I go through as an entrepreneur.
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars