Happy tweet: Researchers say positivity is the key to getting Twitter followers

The best way to attract new followers on Twitter is to tweet positive messages, write clearly and re-tweet interesting bits of news, a new study claims.

With the success of a Twitter account measured by the number of followers it has managed to attract, insights into how to snare a bigger audience are keenly followed by the Twitterati.

Previous research had suggested that following, and being followed by, influential users like celebrities and the frequency and timing of tweets were the key to growing a following on the site.

Stay positive: A new study claims that Twitter users who had more positive tweets gained more followers than those whose tweets were downbeatStay positive: A new study claims that Twitter users who had more positive tweets gained more followers than those whose tweets were downbeat

But it appears from the latest study that it is the content of tweets that has the most important effect.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta studied half a million tweets by more than 500 Twitter users over 15 months.

They gauged whether posts were positive or negative by looking for 2,800 emotive terms, including common acronyms, like LOL, emoticons and slang and swear words.

Giving each term a score on a scale of positivity, they then assessed whether the Twitter users who used each term shrank or grew their numbers of followers.

Findings showed that the Twitter users who posted the most cheerful messages, whose tweets were the most easily readable and who re-tweeted news gained the most followers.


Twitter executives have vowed the introduction of a new advertising model will not lead to users seeing more adverts on the website - yet.

Twitter users already sometimes see paid-for tweets among the posts from people, organisations and companies they have chosen to follow.

But the microblogging site's new Ads API (application programming interface) will let advertisers better tailor their campaigns to relevant members of Twitter's 200million active users.

Facebook launched similar technology in 2010, helping the social network to boost its revenues to more than $3billion the following year.

As speculation grows that Twitter will follow Facebook with a stock market float, it seems the company's executives likewise hope to unlock their sites moneymaking potential.

Twitter product manager April Underwood told the Financial Times there would be 'no direct impact on the user experience', merely that the service's users should see 'more relevant and better ads'.

She did not rule out an increase in the number of ads shown, but insisted the company took users' experience 'really seriously'.

Those egotistical Twitter users who liked to tell the world and its dog about their travails on the morning commute tended to not be so popular.

Lead researcher C.J. Hutto told New Scientist: 'Twitter is used quite heavily as a news medium.

'My weak connections on Twitter care less about what I had for breakfast than they do about this neat bit of news I discovered.'

Another key factor in growing a following on the microblogging site was how well users engaged with their followers.

Mr Hutto told New Scientist how users who mentioned followers and replied and favourited their tweets had 'positive follower growth'.

On the other hand, those who merely pronounced to nobody in particular suffered from 'dramatically suppressed growth rates,' he added.

To assess the clearness of tweeters' messages, Mr Hutto and his colleagues put together a 'Tweet Reading Difficulty Index'.

They found that users whose tweets scored better on their index also grew their number of followers.

'When deciding whether or not to follow a virtual stranger, we found Twitter users seek out well-written over poorly written content,' Mr Hutto said.

'People rely on linguistic cues like spelling and vocabulary to compensate for the lack of traditional contextual cues available in face-to-face settings.'

The study is available todownload for free and the researchers will present their findings at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris in April.
  1. 2013/02/27(水) 15:49:17|
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