October 8, 2009 | In: ceilalti, comportamentul uman

[Twitter] The “Please RT” effect

I’ve been using Twitter for some time now, and twitter is a pretty interesting piece of software when it comes down to how people interact and how do they communicate.

Now, i’m not an expert in sociology, or anything else for that matter, but some patterns do emerge and they’re quite easy to follow on twitter.

One of them, which i want to talk about today is the “Please RT” effect. I’m sure that if you have a Twitter account you’ve seen this millions of time. But, what i also noticed is that most of the time, the information that i get from those twits, is really not that interesting. Actually, i would say that a “Please RT” twit has higher chances of being something irrelevant then the others do.

Why do people use “Please RT” ?

Usually, people use this expression in order to get the others’ attention on subjects that they think it’s important or want to be important. It is usually used for promoting a website(although, it’s usually an article on that website that gets re-twitted), an idea, a project, or something that the author wants/needs people involved in.

Who uses  “Please RT” ?

There are two kind of twitter accounts that use the “Please RT” expression when twitting:

  • professional accounts
  • personal accounts

I split them, because they usually have different interests. For example, an organization that wants to rise the awareness on some of it’s projects, a website that starts a contest, or just needs traffic, etc

Meanwhile, a person might use the “Please RT” phrase if they want to promote a project that is related to them in some way, or something that will be indirectly beneficial for them  in case that twit get’s re-twitted, let’s say, a million times. Please note the ‘indirectly’ word there.. as almost never will someone ask a re-twit on something that is directly beneficial for them, but will always be some indirect benefit.

eg.

  1. Help me pay the rent. Donate! http://p.ly/juKwE Please RT!    WRONG!
  2. Looking for someone that is good at completing forms without looking at them and has a PayPal account? Please RT CORRECT!

Now, getting back to the serious matter, if you look closely, you’ll see that most of the people that add a “Please RT” at the end of their twit, are people that don’t have a strong personality, are unsecured, and constantly looking for attention. After all, it’s not really hard to understand that.

Now, lets brake down the the users into three groups and see exactly who needs attention. I took a sample from the search list of about 40 different twitter accounts that posted a “Please RT” twit (note: the people that actually re-twitted what the others have already been saying are not included here). Here’s what i got:

  • pro/organizations accounts : 13
  • women: 10
  • men: 17

It seems like men are more likely to use the “Please RT” phrase, much more likely than women, although the numbers of accounts made by women is a little bit higher on twitter then men accounts, and both men and women tend to twit equally as i found out from this report.

So, now that you know a bit more about the “Please RT” effect.. do you have a twitter account? If so, what do you think about the “Please RT”? Do you agree?

* Please note that this article is not about the people that actually re-twit what the others are saying, but about the people that start a “Please RT” trend.

** The above report is not accurate at all and not representative. Feel free to create a tool to examine all the twitter accounts and see if you can get more relevant data.

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