Followers may disconnect when municipalities tweet too much.

Municipal social network coordinators may suggest that increasing the number of tweets will increase engagement, but Pennsylvania researchers believe that having too many tweets can lead to less interaction with citizens who follow their Twitter account. Credit: Pixabay

Municipalities do not need to unleash a tweet storm to inform their citizens on Twitter. In fact, according to researchers from Penn State, municipalities that tweet less frequently, but more purposefully, usually have more interaction with citizens who monitor their accounts.

In a study, researchers found that the more municipalities tweeted, the less likely their followers to respond to a message, also called engagement, according to Jeffrey Stone, an assistant professor of information science and technology, Penn State Lehigh Valley and a branch of the Institute of Computing and information sciences.

“This study shows that the most active Twitter accounts are not the most attractive,” said Stone, who worked with Penn State Schuylkill criminology professor S. Hackan Kahn.

He added that participating in this study means the popularity and virality of tweets. The popularity of tweets looked at how often followers liked tweets, and the virality at how often followers retweeted tweets.

Stone said the municipalities that were most active on Twitter are more likely to post health related messages. In the case of municipalities using Twitter to send these health messages, for example during the COVID-19 pandemic, Stone said social media processors should resist the urge to over-communicate and instead rely on a disciplined messaging strategy.

“If you tweet too much, it’s at least in my opinion a“ white noise, ”Stone said. “In terms of what we see in this data, you want to change your messaging strategy to have more focused, more reliable and more direct messages.”

Researchers said that health-related tweets are generally designed to draw attention to social issues, which may increase their relevance to citizens. Stone said the results of the study show that municipal tweets that appeal to group affiliations and common personal motives (like health) are more likely to be attracted.

According to researchers who published their results in several studies, some linguistic factors were also associated with increased involvement. online the first edition of the government information quarterly,

Researchers found that tweets with emotional elements such as anxiety, anger, and faith tend to increase engagement. However, Stone cautioned that the emotional elements in the tweet did not necessarily mean that the sender of the tweet was emotional – rather, it suggests that these messages themselves attracted attention because they contained provocative language, or links to fighting violence, or alerting citizens about potentially violent acts. situation.

“You have to be careful when you say“ evil, ”because, for example, the city government can tweet about a workshop on domestic violence, which doesn't mean government officials are evil,” Stone said. “This may mean, for example, that they are looking for an address domestic violenceor what they tweet about the memorial service to victims of violence. "

Similarly, instead of expressing a certain spiritual opinion, municipal tweets about faith most likely contained links to a wide range of gatherings or services in places of worship of the community.

To conduct the study, researchers obtained the primary Twitter account names – or pens – from the 100 largest cities in the U.S., based on 2017 U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. One city did not have a Twitter account, and another city failed tweet per month, so the researchers skipped these two citations and added the following two most populous cities. Six mayor accounts were deleted, resulting in a final set of 94 cities.

The population of these cities was 57,392,361, or 17.55% of the US population, according to estimates by the United States Census Bureau at the end of 2017.

The software extracted tweets from a Twitter application that allows public access or an API. Tweets covered the 91-day period from September 1 to November 30, 2019. Text software was used to study the linguistic properties of tweets.

According to the researchers, future studies may consider the analysis of a larger data set to ensure that these results are generally applicable to other municipalities.

“We would like some data and a longer period to go deeper into that,” Stone said. “We would also like to differentiate these tweets by engagement in order to explore which types of tweets are more interesting – are they informational tweets, are they tweets about events, or are they writing about health problems?”

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Followers may disconnect when municipalities write too much (2020, April 3)
Received April 4, 2020

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