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What does "ratioed" mean on Twitter and how can you spot it?

Kids say the darndest things.
By
July 15, 2022

As technology develops in tandem with social media, new online interactions emerge. These become defined by new words in the dictionary, such as selfie or photobomb. The latest behavioral trend driving engagement on Twitter is the term “ratio.” Here’s what it means to be ratioed on Twitter, why it matters and how you can spot it.

Read more: Ten best Twitter apps for Android

SHORT ANSWER

On Twitter, a ratio is when the replies on a tweet vastly outnumber its likes and retweets. It can also refer to the number of likes between two tweets.


KEY SECTIONS

What does “ratio” mean on Twitter?

While scrolling through Twitter, you may have encountered people tweeting “ratio” and wondered what it means. Here’s everything you need to know about the background and usage of the social media trend.

Twitter S21 Ultra
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Background

The term “ratio” refers to the quantitative relation between values. Every tweet has three values: replies, likes, and retweets. Therefore, a Twitter ratio is when the number of responses to a tweet dramatically exceeds the number of retweets and likes. In such cases, the tweet is considered unpopular. After all, why would people reply to a tweet without liking it if not to express their disagreement?

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One of the most notable examples of a Twitter ratio was in 2017. United Airlines had responded to a viral video of a passenger removed from one of their planes. The tweet gained roughly 50,700 replies compared to only 6,200 likes. That means nearly eight people replied who did not like the tweet for every person who liked it.

United ratio
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Twitter has since taken measures to allow users to hide the number of responses to a tweet. While that may help reduce negative feedback, the meaning of ratio has since transitioned into a verb. “To ratio” a tweet generally means to make a quote retweet or reply that manages to get more likes and retweets than the original post.

Present

Nowadays, a ratio refers to competition for likes rather than comparing replies to retweets. Think of it like voting, where Twitter users see two tweets expressing different viewpoints and vote with a like on which one they endorse.

Elon Musk Ratio
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Of course, a large ratio is more like a poll to gauge public opinion than a measure of objective truth. In fact, misinformation and emotionally divisive topics generate the most engagement. For example, peer-reviewed studies found that each word of moral outrage added to a tweet increases the rate of retweets by 17%. Out of all the emotions, anger spreads the fastest and farthest on social media, and fake news spreads six times faster than real news.

How can you spot a ratio on Twitter?

Spotting ratios involves analyzing the stats on a tweet. A ratio occurs when a tweet has significantly more replies than likes or retweets or when a reply or quote-tweet has vastly more likes than the original.

Wendys roats McDonalds

As humans, we’re often more concerned with status, popularity, and establishing a trusted circle of friends than maintaining the truth. The primary driving force behind whether someone will like or share a piece of information is not its accuracy or its content but because it comes from a friend or celebrity with whom we want to be associated. So popular or verified accounts may draw higher ratios.

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Ratios are also often involved in online disputes, where fans of a famous person or brand will comment “ratio” as a call to action for others to leave negative replies. With controversial topics, one side will attempt to ratio tweets from supporters of what they perceive as “opposing” tribes of fans.

How to avoid a ratio on Twitter

Being on the receiving end of a ratio can be stressful and frightening. When it happens on a large scale, you may receive thousands of notifications or direct messages from people you’ve never met. If you’re not ready to handle that, think before you tweet.

While divisive opinions are standard on the internet, the types of tweets that tend to get ratioed are purposefully malicious or offensive. Avoid trying to insult others, and you shouldn’t have any problems. Alternatively, you can protect your tweets to keep them private.


Read more: How to schedule tweets on Twitter

FAQs

You’ll find ratios on social networking sites with likes, comments, and a counter that displays the number of likes and comments. This includes traditional social media apps like Facebook and Instagram and content-sharing platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

Other sites, such as Reddit, do not have ratios at all. Because of Reddit’s karma system with upvotes and downvotes, users do not need to comment to voice their displeasure at a particular post.

The post is generally favorable if it has more likes than replies. The tweet is likely unpopular if the responses are significantly higher than likes or retweets.