Posted by: carolbcarolb | May 27, 2012

Quarter of Tweets Not Worth Reading, Twitter Users Tell Researchers

Even though Twitter users choose which microblogs they follow, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University/ MIT/ Georgia Tech found that only a little more than 1/3 of the tweets they receive are worthwhile. (http://www.cmu.edu/news/index.html.)

The researchers suggest nine ways to improve tweets:

Old news is no news: Twitter emphasizes real-time information, so information rapidly gets stale. Followers quickly get bored of even relatively fresh links seen multiple times.
Contribute to the story: To keep people interested, add an opinion, a pertinent fact or otherwise add to the conversation before hitting “send” on a link or a retweet.
Keep it short: Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters, but followers still appreciate conciseness. Using as few characters as possible also leaves room for longer, more satisfying comments on retweets.
Limit Twitter-specific syntax: Overuse of #hashtags, @mentions and abbreviations makes tweets hard to read. But some syntax is helpful; if posing a question, adding a hashtag helps everyone follow along.
Keep it to yourself: The clichéd “sandwich” tweets about pedestrian, personal details were largely disliked. Reviewers reserved a special hatred for Foursquare location check-ins.
Provide context: Tweets that are too short leave readers unable to understand their meaning. Simply linking to a blog or photo, without giving readers a reason to click on it, was described as “lame.”
Don’t whine: Negative sentiments and complaints were disliked.
Be a tease: News or professional organizations that want readers to click on their links need to hook the reader, not give away all of the news in the tweet itself.
For public figures: People often follow you to read professional insights and can be put off by personal gossip or everyday details.

(Article on their findings: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pandre/pubs/whogivesatweet-cscw2012.pdf)

Even though we don’t currently use Twitter at my workplace, I like reading these kinds of tips to keep in mind for future reference.

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Responses

  1. Great tips for engagement via Twitter


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