Twitter: The Truth About Microblogging
An analysis of the social networking site and the lessons I have learnt.
Microblogging is one of the most effective ways to build connections with people all over the world. The rise in the consumption of social media through mobile phones has generated a form of blogging so instant and precise, everyone is asking for more. The popular social media website Twitter is renowned as the ‘King’ of microblogging, due to its wide user base of an incredible 330 million. As I am sure that you are all aware of, Twitter is used to connect people all over the world, through sharing thoughts and opinions on any matter. This is through the immovable 280 character limit, only allowing small amounts of text to be published at a time. I will follow the lead of Twitter, cutting the talk and getting straight to the point.
What actually is microblogging?
A microblog is a short and concise blog post typically 300 words or shorter. According to the theorists Bohringer & Richter, microblogs are “enriched with features for social networking and with a strong focus on mobility”. This shows how microblogs have many social elements to aid the generation and distribution of information. An example of this would be Twitters two different types of interactivity — interpersonal activity, such as messages from an individual to an organisation and machine interactivity, which uses embedded hyperlinks to lead you to another page.
Why is microblogging so successful?
Microblogging doesn’t waste any time. A few minutes is all it takes to create one, meaning that it can be done on-the-go, wherever, whenever. The freedom that this carries means that we can tweet what we like (within reason) and for it to not be too time-consuming. After all, whose got time to waste?
So, now that you understand more about what microblogging consists of, I will jump straight into Twitter and what I have learnt from my sensational microblogging experience.
Twitter is a prime example of microblogging. Their main feature that I mentioned above, limiting the amount of text you can write in a ‘tweet’ to only 280 characters is revolutionary. You cannot write lengthy essays (yawn) and are instead forced to write with incisiveness and clarity. The most popular content that is shared through Twitter is news updates, memes, quotes and infographics.
Personally, I think that this character limit is a triumph. I admit that in the past, I was guilty for writing long-winded pieces of writing. But since using Twitter, my writing has developed a new sense of authenticity from learning to strip it back and not overcomplicate the matter. Here is an example of one of my succinct tweets:
As the tweet above shows, I have summed up the attached article in only 10 words. This gives a very brief overview to what the reader can expect, so they get the gist of the article before it is even read. By writing with less quantity, the text has more substance and consequently, more meaning.
Without sharing the links to my blog posts, it is clear that I would not have drawn in as many viewers. This is because when I would finish writing one of my articles and end up publishing it on Medium, I would receive one ‘clap’, as a symbol of appreciation (on a good day that is). Obviously, it didn’t mean that my article was trash, it just meant that my article needed to get out there a bit more through being shared amongst a wider audience.
Therefore, social media was a saving grace, in order to promote my article and gain a acknowledgement and readership. By copying the articles original link on Medium.com , pasting it in a tweet and then posting the tweet itself, resulted in multiple engagement within minutes. See below for an example.
Posting my article on social media allowed myself to accumulate more views, due to society always being on their phones, and more to the point, social media. Therefore, if you know that many of your followers (like myself, I shamefully admit) are guilty for constantly refreshing the Twitter news feed until something appears that you haven’t read, what have you got to lose?
When a hashtag is inputted before a word, it classifies and sorts the information so that all of the other tweets linked to the same hashtag and therefore, same topic appear. This creates a heightened sense of organisation and less chance of having to trudge through Twitter until you find what you want. When I put this into practice, I found that hashtags were particularly effective. See below!
Not only did my article appear on the Twitter feed when people were searching the same hashtags, such as ‘#journalism’ , my article received more awareness and interaction, as shown below.
Before I used the hashtags, my article only reached a couple of viewers. However, once I inputted the hashtags afterwards, I was receiving more engagement — with nearly 100 impressions! 15 of those people had physically clicked on the tweet, and if not further. This is due to the wider scope of audience that my article targeted, due to the hashtags giving my article more publication.
I am able to see this data due to the ‘tweet analytics’, a button available on every tweet to inform you on your tweets popularity and engagement. Not only is it interesting to have a look from time to time, it is particularly helpful for businesses to track their social media and see how well their brand is received by customers.
Moreover, I found that polls were integral for forming a connection between myself and my followers. By asking a focused question that linked to the subject matter of my next article, I could not only see their answers and opinions on the subject matter but could gather a general synopsis. They are an easy and informative way to gather personal opinions about any question posed. I highly recommend them. If you want to see the poll that the highest amount of voters partook in, keep reading.
22 voters took part in this poll. This was the highest amount of voters I had in all of my polls, by a mile. This was intriguing, as my subject matter ‘Jesy Nelson’ from the girl band Little Mix received the highest amount of engagement overall. Was this because the topic was very recent? This meant that the story ticked off one of the news values that the theorists Galtung & Ruge introduced, called frequency. When news is recent and unfolds in the public eye, it results in higher public engagement overall. This means that the news is deemed as ‘good news’ because of its considered newsworthiness, meaning that the Jesy Nelson article provokes a greater response.
From replying to tweets from the BBC news about serious topics, such as coronavirus, to asking questions related to my articles to gain more audience, I’ve tried my absolute hardest to engage in different ways. Though I’ve covered the main points, I have ran out of time and space to cover the other ways that I have interacted with my followers. If you’re interested in how I did this, follow my Twitter here.
To reflect on my microblogging experience, I hear myself asking ‘what would I have done differently?’.
- Reply to even more tweets, as this tends to receive a higher reaction than retweeting the tweet with a quote.
- Compose more polls to draw more people in to my page, resulting in higher readership for my blog.
- Share images, to gain more interest.
- Have a go at live tweeting, a popular phenomenon that takes place during an event to inform the audience about what is happening.
“Approximately, 350,00 tweets are posted every minute” TheFactSite.
If you are interested in more ways to increase your Twitter engagement, read this blog ‘23 Strategies to Increase Your Twitter Engagement’.