On Monday, March 21, Twitter celebrated its fifth anniversary. It seems like only yesterday when the first Tweet echoed into Twittersphere history. The first Tweet, chirped by Twitter founder himself Jack Dorsey, appeared on March 21, 2006 and started it all with “just setting up my twttr.” Fast forward to today, and Twitter users blast over 140 million Tweets a day. With so much noise out there, how can a Tweet really stand out? What does it take to craft a Tweet that’s worth a 1,000 words?
According to Time magazine, the recipient of the most retweeted Tweet of 2010 belongs to Stephen Colbert for his comedic take on last year’s gulf oil spill crisis. The Tweet, “in honor of oil-soaked birds, ‘tweets’ are now ‘gurgles” begs the question, is comedy the secret ingredient to the kind of stuff that best Tweets are made out of? On the other hand, maybe it’s not about the Tweet, but who is doing the Tweeting. Right now, Lady Gaga is the most followed user on Twitter with over nine million users, followed by Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and President Obama. Is fame the key to retweet success?
For those of us with less than nine million followers on Twitter, (so, everyone but Lady Gaga) there are some things we can do to fill our follower’s feeds with quality content. For starters, be creative! As my colleague Billy Grove pointed out in his recent blog post, being restricted to 140-characters makes him a better writer. The cap forces us to be concise, witty and succinct. A Yahoo! how-to article on Twitter from 2009 boasts advice that still holds true today, “the best tweets are to the point and specific.”
Secondly, show some personality! Twitter users want to see Tweets that are fun, interesting and incite curiosity. Share facts, funny details about a weekend outing and yes, even the occasional Twitpic. And finally, don’t forget the overarching value of social media. In a recent series of posts, New York Times contributor Bruce Buschel (@bbushel) describes his plight in finding the right public relations agency to facilitate the launch of his new Hampton’s restaurant. By his third post, “Arriving Late at the Social Media Party,” Bruce shares some expert advice he finally receives on the value of social media to his restaurant’s success, including this great point – “Keep the dialogue alive. Listen and respond.”
At the end of the day, perhaps a formula of Holy Grail proportions does not exist for crafting the perfect Tweet. Maybe the secret to unlocking retweet success simply lies in having fun, adding value and engaging in the great conversations taking place in the Twittersphere. What do you think? Is there a 140-character code to creating the best Tweets out there? Because if it does, I`ll be the first one to retweet it!