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April 20, 2012

On Twitter Content Is Still King

It is now possible to predict the likelihood of whether or not content will become popular if it is shared on Twitter, based on a new HP Labs White Paper.

HP analyzed over forty-thousand tweets over the course of a week and found that some articles are indeed more tweet-worthy than others. Based on the:

  • origin of the content
  • person/business that first tweeted the content
  • category the content fell under (society, business, etc)
  • tone of the content’s language

It was concluded that the source of the content was the biggest indicator of potential popularity. The more reliable the original source, the more chances it had of being tweeted and retweeted.

Other important factors in the equation are the popularity of the category that the content would fall under. Health, entertainment and technology are all very popular categories, so content shared under these categories ended up being much more popular. However jobs and universities ended up being less popular categories and did not get shared as frequently.

One thing that does not seem to have an impact on the tweetability of content is the tone in which it is written or the context in which it is shared. Articles written with more emotion or images used in certain places were no more likely to be tweeted than more objective articles or images, according to researchers.

In the past it has been assumed that the higher the profile (the more popular) a user is, the more popular their tweets will be and the more they will be retweeted. While this is still true to a point, it is important to consider the nature of the content itself. Of course brand matters, information matters, and classification matters, but tone does not seem to make much of a difference when it comes to sharing something on Twitter.

From articles to images and everything in between, this research takes a hard look at the factors we have used in the past to forecast the popularity of content and serves up some interesting new things to consider.

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