To Tweet or Not to Tweet

4 Feb

Do you ever wonder what your followers think about your tweets? How do they react to your thoughts on the latest blockbuster movie or what you are currently listening to on Spotify? Or do they simply scroll past your posts with a flick of indifference?

According to a recent online study, it’s most likely the latter. Three researchers from MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and Georgia Tech have created an online app called, “Who Gives a Tweet,” which provides users feedback on their tweets and generates information on what kinds of tweets people are most likely to enjoy.

Over a period of 19 days in December and January, the site had 1,443 visitors rate 43,738 tweets from 21,014 accounts. What was the outcome? Respondents liked 36% of the tweets, disliked 25%, and viewed 39% as neutral.

People tended to favor tweets that included information sharing, questions to followers, and self-promotion, such as linking to a story you wrote. Be sure check out my future tweet about this blog post.

Conversely, the more despised tweets consisted of trivial updates on a person’s mood or activity and conversations between friends. Making lunch plans or figuring out what movie to see is not the kind of dialogue that should be exchanged on Twitter.

The study’s authors provided some suggestions for producing better “tweet-worthy” content:

  1. Don’t tweet old news. Twitter is all about up-to-date, currently trending, hot topics. The NBA Lockout is so two months ago.
  2. Add your two cents. Before you retweet that article on “The Most Stressful Colleges in the US,” contribute your opinion on why you think Wash U is ranked #5. You will most likely generate more clicks.
  3. Short and Sweet. There’s a reason for the 140-character limit. Remember the ol’ KISS acronym—keep it simple, stupid.
  4. Limit lengthy hashtags. Overusing Twitter-specific syntax, such as #hashtags or @mentions, can make tweets difficult and unappealing to read.
  5. Keep personal details personal. Even though I’m sure that fluffy egg white omelet was delicious, no one needs to know what you ate at every meal. Respondents also suggested keeping Foursquare check-ins to a minimum. You don’t want stalkers.
  6. Provide some context. Tweeting a picture of your dog for no reason can leave your followers confused. Keep Goldilocks in mind when creating tweets. Don’t make them too long or too short but just right the length.
  7. No whining allowed. We get enough of that from our younger siblings. 

Considering an increasing number of companies are asking job applicants for Twitter accounts in order to assess an individual’s web presence, it’s important to watch what you tweet. Hopefully these tips can help improve your tweet content and make them more appealing to followers.

What kind of tweets do you find enjoyable or distasteful? Let me know in the comments and follow me @rita_sengupta.

by Rita Sengupta

Sources: http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/society/2012/winter/who-gives-a-tweet.shtml

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One Response to “To Tweet or Not to Tweet”

  1. Julia Millot February 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    I can’t stand people who post about how many times they went to the bathroom that day!! I thought your post was creative and I liked how it let your personal style shine through. I’ll definitely keep this advice in mind!

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