Georgia Institute of Technology researchers examined the content and retweeting results of tweets sent by 500 non-celebrities over a 15-month period. The researchers looked for 2,800 terms that convey positive and negative emotions, including slang, swear words, emoticons, and common acronyms.
The researchers were able to determine whether Twitter users who used each term gained or lost followers by scoring each term on a sliding scale of positivity.
"Twitter is used quite heavily as a news medium," notes Georgia Institute of Technology's C.J. Hutto. "My weak connections on Twitter care less about what I had for breakfast than they do about this neat bit of news I discovered."
The research suggests it is the content of tweets, rather than a followers list, that has the biggest impact on the size of a Twitter audience. "Twitter users who engage with their existing followers via mentions, replies, and favoriting had positive follower growth, while users who mostly broadcast to no one in particular had dramatically suppressed growth rates," Hutto observes.
Readability also was a key element, and the team built a Tweet Reading Difficulty Index to quantify the tweets' comprehensibility. They discovered that those whose tweets scored higher on the index had more followers.
From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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