Twitter users choose the microblogs they follow, but that doesn't mean they always like what they get. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology found that users say only a little more than a third of the tweets they receive are worthwhile.
Other tweets are either so-so or, in one out of four cases, not worth reading at all.
Twitter says more than 200 million tweets are sent each day, yet most users get little feedback about the messages they send besides occasional retweets by followers, or when followers opt to stop following them.
"If we understood what is worth reading and why, we might design better tools for presenting and filtering content, as well as help people understand the expectations of other users," said Paul André, a post-doctoral fellow in Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute and lead author of the study.
"A well-received tweet is not all that common," said Michael Bernstein, a co-author of the study and doctoral student at MIT. "A significant amount of content is considered not worth reading, for a variety of reasons." Despite the social nature of Twitter, tweets that were part of someone else's conversation, or updates around current mood or activity were the most strongly disliked.
On the other hand, tweets that included questions to followers, information sharing and self-promotion (such as links to content the writer had created) were more often liked.
This slideshow features nine lessons, identified by the study, for improving tweet content.
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