Study: Most tweets not worthwhile, but you can change that

It turns out all those tweets about what people are having for lunch are not that useful to Twitter users. Who'd a thunk?

A new study by Carnegie Mellon, MIT and Georgia Tech researchers found that people on Twitter said only 36 percent of the tweets that fill their feeds each day are worthwhile. Mashable reports that respondents disliked another 25 percent of the tweets they rated and reported neutral feelings about the remaining 39 percent.

The researchers collected the data using a website called Who Gives a Tweet?, which prompted users to assign anonymous ratings to tweets from people they were already following.

What kind of tweets really turned people off? Respondents disliked messages that were part of a semi-private conversation they weren't part of. They also gave low ratings to tweets about people's moods at any given moment and their daily activities.

There are ways of making tweets more valuable to your followers, the researchers said. Some of their tips include:
  • Cut down on Twitter-ese, including such special symbols as hashtags (#) and mentions of other Twitter users with the @ sign.
  • Think twice about posting your current location as a Foursquare check-in or tweeting about any other mundane personal details.
  • Stay positive. Twitter users voiced a strong dislike for tweets in which people complained.
  • Avoid tweets that are too short and vague — or too long.
  • Give your followers added value by including your own opinion or some extra factual context to ongoing stories you tweet about.
  • Don't give away the entire story of an article you're linking to.
  • Keep things current by not linking to old news stories.

About the Author

Donald White is an assistant managing editor with 1105 Government Information Group.


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