Researchers from Carnegie Mellon, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia Tech have issued a list of 9 tips for better tweeting based on a study of Twitter usefulness (see "Most tweets are useless, Twitter users say").
Here's the list:
• 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.
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• 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.
Follow Bob on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alphadoggs