Researchers have identified an array of features that can make a message more likely to get attention on Twitter.
A computer algorithm developed by researchers at the Cornell University predicted more accurately than human observers which version of a tweet would be retweeted more.
The results might be applied to longer forms of discourse, from essays to getting your idea accepted in a committee meeting, researchers said.
“We’re looking at persuasion everywhere,” said Lillian Lee, professor of computer science and information science at Cornell University.
Twitter enabled the researchers to conduct a controlled experiment to eliminate the effects of the popularity of the poster or the topic: Many posters will tweet on the same topic more than once, with different wording.
The researchers collected and compared thousands of these pairs, and after taking into account the effect of repetition, the experiment showed that wording still matters.
On Twitter, many posts are links to websites the poster thinks are important.
“You want to say something about it to make people look at it,” Lee said.
The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the Association for Computational Linguistics.