Social media is often criticised for its lack of ROI and objectivity, but a new study is helping inject a bit of science into the channel.
A Research Paper produced by UCLA and Hewlett-Packard’s HP Labs advises that its algorithm suggests straightforward language and a lack of hype are prerequisites for creating excellent, sharable content.
In this work, the popularity of news items on Twitter was predicted using features extracted from the content of news articles. Taken into account were four features that cover the spectrum of the information that can be gleaned from the content – the source of the article, the category, subjectivity in the language and the named entities mentioned.
The results show that while these features may not be sufficient to predict the exact number of tweets that an article will garner, they can be effective in providing a range of popularity for the article on Twitter.
These medium levels can target highly interested and informed readers and thus the mid-ranges of popularity should not be dismissed.
Interestingly it was found that in terms of number of retweets, the top news sources on twitter are not necessarily the conventionally popular news agencies and various technology blogs such as Mashable and the Google Blog are very widely shared in social media.
Overall, it was discovered that one of the most important predictors of popularity was the source of the article.
The algorithm created to test the success of tweets is said to have an impressive 84% success rate.
This is in agreement with the intuition that readers are likely to be influenced by the news source that disseminates the article.
The advice seems to be: ‘don’t be too clever if you want your tweets to spread’.
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