Social and viral marketing scientist Dan Zarrella has been doing statistical analysis of ReTweets. So far, I've learned a couple of things from Dan.
In his December 2008 post, I got statistical confirmation of what most Tweeple already suspect -- "most RT streams are merely one user ReTweeting another, and never go any further."
In January, Dan posted The 20 Words and Phrases That Will Get You the Most Retweets. In that post, he said, "My research has shown that the number of followers exposed to a Tweet has only a weak correlation to the number of ReTweets it gets, indicating that the content of the tweet may be more important than the user posting it." To me, that says you don't necessarily have to be a "somebody" to get a lot of ReTweets, but it helps if you have something original to say. For most of us, that probably adds up to glimmers of hope, but not much likelihood.
In his quest to find out what makes a ReTweet go viral, last week Dan added an authoritative post on the Linguistics of Retweets. In this post, Dan notes that, "ReTweets are the first entirely observable and analyzable viral content spreading mechanism in the history of mankind and as such they offer an unparalleled window into what makes humans spread ideas."
After crunching 10 million ReTweets, Dan observed that -- compared to Tweets themselves -- ReTweets:
1. contain links three times more often.
2. contain longer, higher syllable-count words.
3. tend to be less “readable” and require a higher level of education to understand.
4. prize novelty.
5. tend to read like headlines, in that they allude to subject matter.
6. are less primordial, less emotional.
7. rely on constructive words like" build" and "create," but struggle with abstract thought and sensation-based words.
8. favor work, religion, money, and media/celebrities (negative emotions, sensations, swear words, and self reference, not so much).
I'm still not sure what makes a ReTweet go viral, though. I guess if I knew that, I'd be rich.
-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo