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What Others Like (and Dislike) About Your Tweets

February 13, 2012

Twitter users* say only 36% of the tweets they receive are worth reading, 39% are mediocre at best, and 25% of tweets are not worth reading at all, according to a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, and Georgia Tech.

The findings are based on a survey of 1,443 Twitter users who rated 43,738 tweets during a 19-day period (Dec. 30, 2010 to Jan. 17, 2011) from the accounts of some 21,014 Twitter users they collectively followed. The research was facilitated by the site "Who Gives a Tweet?"** 

Among those surveyed, Twitter content was deemed "not worth reading" for various reasons. Tweets that were part of someone else's conversation, or updates around a current mood or activity, were the most strongly disliked, whereas tweets that included questions to followers, information sharing, and self-promotion (such as links to content the writer had created) were liked more often. 

Below, additional findings from the study titled "Who Gives a Tweet? Evaluating Microblog Content Value," conducted by Paul André, post-doctoral fellow in Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute, with Michael Bernstein and Kurt Luther, doctoral students at MIT and Georgia Tech, respectively.

Among all types of tweets analyzed, "Presence Maintenance" tweets (e.g., "Hullo twitter!") were the most strongly disliked, registering a 45% probability of being Not Worth Reading (NotWR), compared with 18% for "Question to Followers" tweets.

Presence Maintenance communications were generally considered "content-less," among those surveyed, eliciting comments such as "I have one word for one word tweets: BORING", or "useless."

The following chart shows various tweet types and respondents' attitudes toward them:

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  • by Peter Martino Mon Feb 13, 2012 via web

    I find the "Ratings of 4220... " graph with the 3 different color bars a little confusing. It would seem to indicate that "random thoughts" and "self promotion" ranked high as "worth reading".

    Can anybody clarify?

  • by Scott A Mon Feb 13, 2012 via web

    Peter, I'd be willing to bet that the intersection of "Random Thoughts" and "Funny" is where you get that 35% positive rating.

  • by Mary Schmidt Mon Feb 13, 2012 via web

    It depends on who's tweeting. I love pretty much anything I read from The Bloggess. And, I love CraigyFerg. However, for biz, that's a different story. Don't waste my time, and I'll do my respect you too. .

  • by Mary Schmidt Mon Feb 13, 2012 via web

    I obviously have been spending too much time on Twitter. I can't even write a complete sentence. Above should be, I'll do my best to respect you too.

  • by Digital Media Business Consultant - Software as a Tue Mar 6, 2012 via web

    Spending too much time on social network without much return is the most acknowledged fact. Use social network as engagement tool rather than terminal of sales point.

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