Why Most of Your Tweets Are Not Read by Anybody

Twitter most liked disliked, law firm marketing legal marketingTwitter users say 39% of the tweets they get are mediocre and another 25% are not worth reading at all, according to a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, MIT and Georgia Tech.

200 million tweets are sent daily, and most of them are ignored.

The study was "Who Gives aTweet? Evaluation Microblog Content Value." Responding to the widespread perception that the majority of Twitter updates are boring, inane or largely sandwich-related, researchers surveyed 1,443 Twitter users who rated 43,738 tweets during from Dec. 30, 2010 to Jan. 17, 2011 from the accounts of some 21,014 Twitter users they collectively followed. 

Among those surveyed, Twitter content was deemed "not worth reading" for various reasons. Most strongly disliked were:

  • "Presence Maintenance" tweets (e.g., "Good Morning!")
  • Tweets that were part of someone else's conversation
  • Updates around a current mood or activity

Most-liked Tweets were:

  • Questions to followers
  • Information sharing
  • "Self-promotion" such as links to content the writer had created

"A well-received tweet is not all that common," said research Michael Bernstein said. "A significant amount of content is considered not worth reading, for a variety of reasons."

Here are seven tips to assure your tweets get read:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Go easy on the hashtags: 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.
  4. Too much information: The clichéd “I ate a sandwich” tweets about pedestrian, personal details were largely disliked. Reviewers reserved a special hatred for Foursquare location check-ins.
  5. 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.”
  6. Don’t whine: Negative sentiments and complaints were disliked.
  7. 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.
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