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I've been running small experiments on the art of retweeting for a couple of weeks and it's time for a reflection.
My tweets usually fall into one of several types:
- Retweets of others: Verbaitem sharing of someone's message that I feel is important for followers to know about.
- Share Links w/Brief Comment: This comes from my daily scanning of resources about social media, nonprofits, and philanthropy and picking out five good links and passing them along with a 140 character annotation. These are a few gems that I've bookmarked on delicous and slightly different than those streamed on my blog. (And usually doesn't include the best Facebook links which are shared on my Facebook Fan Page)
- Live Tweeting: If I am at a conference or meeting, I'm usually live blogging or tweeting. I like to live tweet because it forces a discipline of listening.
- Closing the Triangle: This is a network weaving technique of introducing people in your network.
- Crowdsourcing Questions: I use this when I'm developing training materials, particularly for case studies or sometimes for demos of Twitter as a crowdsourcing tools. Usually I ask a question, and try to get people to answer in another place like a google document or wiki.
- Bytes of Wisdom or humor: I share some geek humor now and then. I also share some meta reflections or wisdom about what works or doesn't work in using social media for nonprofits.
I generally try to avoid public replies that don't provide context or may not be valuable for everyone. So, unless the reply can incorporate one of the above, I may do it privately if the person is following me.
Which of these do you think gets retweeted most often? After some rapid experimentation and testing different types of tweets and measuring results, for me -- wisdom/humor. It may be that those tweets are not as frequent. I think it also has to do with several factors - your content strategy - and also how you've built your network.
I was tweeting wisdom because Janet Fouts asked me to help with a project "Bite Sized Social Media for Nonprofits." (You can participate or help spread the word.) I shared the above Tweet about rapid prototyping. Why not participate and see if you get retweeted more often?
What's useful beyond the retweeting is that you tend to get back insights in the replies. For example, Katrin Verlcas replied with this insight. I asked her to elaborate and she shared this about SCRUM, a methodology for agile development in software. Ah Ha! Been looking for methodologies for agile prototyping for non-software development and this is something that can be informative for another project.
What are your different types of Tweets? What works or doesn't work in getting retweeted more often? How are you using a scrum approach to improving your social media use?
Just getting started with Twitter? Here's the five minute start.
Also, see my Twitter Primers or WeAreMedia.
Mashable Retweet Guide
The Science of ReTweets by Dan Zarrella
The Art of Retweet by Beth Kanter
Backtype Releases Tweet Count by Mashable
How to Track Retweets by CIO
Twitter as Network Weaver's Best Friend by Beth Kanter
Twitter Research Reports Worth Reading by Beth Kanter
Talk Twitter to Me by Beth Kanter
Twitter Retweet Links from Beth's Delicious