Cool It With the Hashtags: How to Not Be Extremely Annoying on Twitter

A new study based on 43,000 responses gives a comprehensive look at what works and what doesn't on Twitter.

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Social-media neophytes need not fret. The brains behind a new study have provided a how-to guide in acquiring Twitter-savvy skills and more importantly, avoiding the oh-so irritating tweet habits.

“Who Gives a Tweet: Evaluating Microblog Content Value” is a recent collaboration between Paul Andre of Carnegie Mellon, Michael Bernstein of MIT and Kurt Luther of Georgia Tech, who set out to examine the value of a tweet and why some are more important than others, the Atlantic reports.

(MORE: Twitter’s New Censorship Policy: Up with Free Speech)

The trio created a website last year in hopes of analyzing the content value of tweets, asking users to anonymously provide feedback to strangers and followers, in exchange for ratings of their own. Participants would provide feedback on whether a tweet was “worth reading,” “OK” or “not worth reading.”  After a year’s worth of feedback and over 43,000 responses, the team assembled a study to make the world a better place for Twittizens.

A few key takeaways to remember:

Self-promotion is not so bad: Rather than retweeting old content, respondents indicated that new content added value. So don’t be afraid to speak your mind, but make sure it’s compelling.

Pedestrian Tweets not welcome:  The personal status updates about what you had for lunch or a new haircut are especially loathed. No one cares about where  you “checked-in,” so save it for Facebook.

#Enoughhashtagsalready: Don’t overuse hashtags and @mentions. It make’s it difficult for people to find the real content tends to muddle the message.

Old news, who cares: With the ever-evolving nature of Twitter, broaching subjects that happened even a half hour before add no value to the conversation. The platform illuminates the beauty of real-time, so stick to it.

KISS: Keep it short, silly:  Brevity is beautiful, and with only 140 characters, it’s important to be effective and thought-provoking. But also tease readers to click through for more information.

Don’t gripe: Because nobody likes a Debbie Downer.

For more on the study, click here.

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