Twitter users aren't idiots

Okay, you knew that and I knew that. We use Twitter to hear news, hear gossip, talk to friends, share opinions – to be human. And we retweet something if we think it’s interesting or funny. We filter – we just ignore the rubbish out there. We unfollow people, or block them. Twitter is the new word-of-mouth. It doesn’t replace talking – it’s just another way to talk, alongside face-to-face, phone, email, Facebook and all the other ways we connect with people.

Some days, you’d never know this from media stories that describe Twitter as a waste of time, and full of trivia. However, now there’s research to prove it. A study shows that famous people, although they may have lots of followers on Twitter, are not influential unless they’re actively tweeting on stuff they know about. If someone is just spouting opinions, we don’t tweet and don’t start discussing it. If they’re tweeting about their area of expertise, then we’re more likely to start talking about it.

In short, we apply our brains to use Twitter in just the same way we do in normal conversation, deciding what’s interesting. If someone wants us to hear them on Twitter, well then they’d better be interesting. And if you’re trying to be heard on Twitter – well, you’d better be saying something that interests your followers. Else it’ll be forgotten in two minutes, no matter how many times you post.

The Telegraph has an article about the study right here.

PS. The link in the Telegraph article is wrong at the time of posting this, but you can find the researchers’ website here.

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