Build a Better Tweet
A new study from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science called “Who Gives a Tweet: Evaluating Microblogging Content Value” has unveiled what we like to read, and what we don’t like to read, on Twitter. I have to say, the results aren’t all that surprising.
A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and Georgia Tech launched a site asking for anonymous feedback from people like you and me in exchange for rating their tweets. Users had to sign in to their website and rate 10 tweets before getting any feedback on their own tweets.
Luckily for these researchers, their project went viral. Sites like Mashable, TechCrunch, and CNN wrote about their study. The analysis of the study was taken from data received between December 30, 2010 and January 17, 2011. They had over 43,000 responses to work with. Here’s what they found:
What People Liked
Questions to Followers
35% of respondents thought tweets that fall in this category were worth reading, either because they thought it was a good use of Twitter or that the topic gave them pause to think about the question posed.
A little over 30% of respondents liked these kinds of tweets. How many tweets did you see this past week about the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood debacle? Information surrounding that situation went viral on social media sites.
A little more than 35% of respondents liked these tweets—which include links the tweeter created, rather than banter about how awesome they are.
The same amount of people who liked self-promotion tweets also favored this category, which just goes to show that people don’t just use twitter to spread the news or find information. Adding humor to a random thought post got even better results.
What People Didn’t Like
Tweets like “Hello Tweeps!” and one-word tweets are the most disliked tweets of all. Only 20% of respondents liked these tweets, and 55% thought they weren’t worth reading at all. One person even said “I have one word for one word tweets: BORING.”
These tweets are on my personal pet peeve list. I mean, who wants to read a twitter conversation between two or more people? Take it offline. I was glad to see others agreed. About 35% of respondents thought these tweets were worthless with 25% of respondents thinking they were worth a read. Yawn.
25% of respondents thought these tweets were worth reading, and the same percentage indicated that these tweets were not worth reading. I guess people really don’t care what you are eating for lunch after all. Too much personal information—especially boring personal information—is just not valued.
Here are some tips on how to create tweets that are valued.
What NOT to do
Don’t Be Boring
The study found that being boring was more of a problem than the researchers expected. It was the standout reason of why tweets were labeled “not worth reading.”
Don’t Share Old News
Twitter is too timely for this type of sharing.
Don’t be Banal or Prosaic
Don’t leave your followers thinking, “so what?” We’re not all philosophers.
Include Enough Context
Ditch the one-word tweets no one can understand. Also, don’t just tweet a link. With no explanation, these tweets were trashed.
Nix The Negativity and Arrogance
No one likes a whiner. They also don’t like arrogance. You know, just like in real life.
Cut Down On Clutter
Too many Hashtags and @mentions are a turn off. If it’s hard to find the real content, people will be turned off.
What you SHOULD do
People like to be in the know. 48% of respondents liked reading tweets that shared useful information or an interesting perspective.
People like to smile and laugh. Humor was proven to be a successful way to share random thoughts or opinion.
They don’t call it “short and sweet” for nothing.
Technology is always changing, which means, Twitter, too will morph and grow. But the data speaks for itself. Take it into consideration the next time you decide to share the kind of sandwich you’re eating with the world. You might save yourself a lot of grief.