Science speaks: Stop talking about yourself

Hi! How are you? Actually, don’t tell us. At least not on Twitter, because Twitterfolk just don’t want to know, according to Dan Zarella’s excellent 60-minute presentation on video, The Science of Social Media.

Self-referential tweets aren’t just boring – they drive people away. Zarella calls his blog The Social Media Scientist and he has the data to prove that too many tweets about yourself can lead to fewer followers. He’ll even sell you the T-shirt.

So, what’s left to tweet about? Tweet about me. (That’s “you” to you). Zarella’s research shows that the word “you” is the most common word used in retweets. That’s a reassuring link to our ancestors. “You” has been the number one most motivating word for direct response messages since they were being carved in stone.

For that matter, messages solely about our institutional selves in any medium have always been boring, and worse, unproductive.

Other quick takeaways? Be positive – tweets knocking others don’t get lots of retweets. Fill “information voids” with news people don’t have. And don’t be too smart – tweets with short words get shared far more often than tweets showing off your Ph.D.

You’ll find tons of other insights, surprising findings and useful advice in Zarella’s video as well as on his blog. The video alone is worth any two webinars I’ve taken in the last year. Set aside 60 minutes and check it out.

2 responses to Science speaks: Stop talking about yourself

  1. Sherry Truhlar

    Jon, I was recently mentioned in a tweet that I had unfollowed someone. I know it was an app that sent out the info, but I was suprised to be part of such a tweet with a negative tone. I haven’t investigated the app but I am still wondering what value there is to announcing that you’ve been unfollowed.

    I am guessing that tweeter hasn’t heard Dan’s presentation.

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