Collaborative Twitter Analysis

Download: joeredman_collaborative_twitter_analysis

Joe Redman

Mason Miller

During a two-month span we collected twenty tweets from nine different kinds of Twitter users: a celebrity, a musician, an athlete, a social media marketer, a politician, a large company, a small company, a journalist, and an academic. We did this to examine the different practices these accounts use to communicate with their followers. Some of the accounts represent an individual while others represent a corporation. The accounts vary in popularity. Many of them were completely new to us. We as a class collected 2,160 tweets in total and compiled them into one Excel file to analyze. In doing so we found a specific topic and question to look into.

The question we are focusing on is: How do musicians and academics promote themselves? We are wondering this because one group brands themselves as entertainers while the other brand themselves as intellectuals. We expect different content from both groups because of this. With the accounts we analyzed branding themselves as musicians or academics, there are different expectations from those who view them. This includes the content they share and promote with the attitude they display when doing so. This could result in the accounts practicing particular methods of self-branding to maintain the consistent image of a musician or academic. There is no definite rule in how to run brand accounts as musicians or academics. It is important to see how humanistic qualities mix in with accounts who primarily try to sell an image of themselves they present.

We collected tweets posted no later than September 2019. Most tweets are no older than July 2019, but some are as old as April 2019. We prioritized collecting tweets from accounts that posted at least once every day. If the account did not post relative to the date we viewed it, we did not include it in our study. This being a class effort, not all of us communicated with each other in regards to exactly what data we collected. However, we did follow strict guidelines when categorizing the many tweets collected. These categories were as follows: Author, Tweeter Type, Sex(M/F/Undetermined), Tweet, Date, Tweet Type(Retweet, Reply, Retweet with comment, None of these), Message Goal, Media Type, Emoji(Yes, No). Many of these categories were objectively straightforward, but some of them required additional time to assess. “Message Goal” in particular oftentimes lead to choosing between the best among multiple true options. For example, we could interpret a tweet as both promotion and humor, but ultimately choose promotion. A large Excel file compiled all 2,460 tweets for everyone to use as a reference

Though we collected tweets from many different kinds of accounts, this study focuses on tweets from musicians and academics. We were curious about what differences may exist between brands that entertain and ones known for imparting knowledge. Though the Sex category is not factored into our results, we must mention that some of the musician accounts are for bands and are marked as undetermined or consist of multiple people of the same gender. To compare musicians and academics we focused only on the more telling categories.

The categories we focused on in relation to musicians and academics were Message Goal, Tweet Type, Media, and Tweet Message.We put together some tables and graphs which quantify the tweets filtered through these categories.

Our quantifiable data results based off the categories we analyzed lead to some interesting findings. First, we examined tweet type. We found that musicians preferred formatting their tweets independently with 141 in total out of 240 tweets being wholly original (Table 1). They did this more than all other types of tweets combined. The number of their tweets formatted as a reply and retweet were very close, only being two apart at 45 and 43 respectively. Academics showed different results.

Academics preferred using retweets with 117 out of 240 tweets sharing content from other accounts without an embedded comment (Table 1). Some of the content related to their field of study while others related to university development and statistics. Next we looked at message goals.

Table 2 reveals that musicians focus on promotion over other message goals. 37.5% of their posts are promotions. Many sell their creations, so of course they use social media as a major facet of their own advertising. On Twitter, their own advertisements are more personalized and direct. Some integrate their promotions in with the other kinds of messages they post to give their followers everything they are looking for in them. The sorts of message goals academics used in their tweets is more evenly displaced among most categories.

Information was the most popular message goal among academics (Table 3). 23.75% of their tweets focused on giving information. With most of the tweets from academics being retweets, much of the information they shared came from outside sources in addition to their own. We labeled some of the retweets that included a link to an informative article as an opinion because the message in the tweets expressed one. Tweets we labeled as opinions accounted for 18.75% of posts from academics partly because of this.

When quantifying the number of each media type used by musicians, 39.58% of tweets did not use any sort of additional media (Table 4). What is especially interesting is that only a combined 12.08% of their tweets included a link to a website. The media type fields associated with websites (Multimedia and Other) also include polls, but no tweets from either musicians or academics included polls. This means all tweets from musicians and academics correctly[1] categorized as Multimedia or Other included a link.  We expected promotional tweets to link to a website where one could buy or participate in something, but this did not usually happen. 26.67% of tweets from musicians did include a still picture, but generally musicians chose to keep their followers on their Twitter page and away from any other sites. Academics surprisingly shared more links than musicians.

Many tweets from academics also lacked additional media. 43.75% of their posts did not include media (Table 5). However, there was a substantial difference when it came to the other types used. 40.83% of posts from academics included links to a website(Multimedia and Other). So, academics shared website links more often than musicians did by over three times. Because academics promoted themselves less than musicians, many of the website links they shared did not directly promote themselves.

Table 1. Count of Tweets for each type. x-axis: A=? N=Neither. RC= Retweet with comment. RP=Reply. RT=Retweet. 2=Musician. 9= Academic. y-axis: Count of tweets.

Table 2. Count percentage of message goal types from musicians’ tweets

Message Goal Type Count of message goal
Direct Response 13.75%
Promotion 37.50%
Humor 2.92%
Charity 2.92%
Current Activity 8.33%
Information 5.00%
Inspirational 12.92%
Opinion 4.58%
Musings 11.67%
Other 0.42%

Table 3. Count percentage of message goal types from academics’ tweets

Message Goal Type Count of message goal
Direct Response 5.42%
Promotion 15.83%
Humor 4.17%
Charity 0.83%
Current Activity 8.33%
Information 23.75%
Inspirational 16.25%
Opinion 18.75%
Musings 5.42%
Other 1.25%

Table 4. Count percentage of media types from musicians’ tweets

Media Type Count of Media
Audio/Video 20.42%
Audio 0.83%
Still Picture 26.67%
GIF 0.42%
Multimedia 5.83%
Other 6.25%
None 39.58%

Table 5. Count percentage of media from academics’ tweets

Media Type Count of Media
Audio/Video   Audio 1.67%   0%
Still Picture   GIF 13.75%   0%
Multimedia 21.67%
Other 19.17%
None 43.75%

Comparing the Tweets

Inclusivity

Something that isn’t mentioned in our “Twitter Assignment Directions”, but that we thought was very interesting, was the difference between the musicians’ and academics’ use of inclusivity. By this we mean how each of them used some sort of inclusivity in their tweets to connect with their audience. The musicians’ use of this is mostly them thanking their following for coming to their shows or inviting them to the next one. The academics use some sort of hook- in like “register here”, “find out more”, “connect with me here”, etc. We found that the tweets like these, especially if it included something directly connecting to the audience, received the most replies, favorites, and retweets. Just like we found in many other studies, connecting more deeply with an audience will create a tighter community. We noticed this happen with the idea of inclusivity in that form.

Message Goals

Promotion

The message goals of both the academics and musicians is one of the most important things we studied. Promotion consisted of about 16% of the academic’s tweets, and about 38% of the musician’s. Both types of tweeters are attempting to promote themselves but are very different in the ways that they do so. Musicians focus on the current product they are trying to sell, whether it be their new album, current tour tickets, merch, or something else. Academics are promoting things like articles they wrote, providing and promoting information on a subject, promoting a school or learning event, or signing up for something to participate in online. Academics’ promotional tweets focus more on events and things happening around the community, while musicians focus on their own brand.

            Musician Promotion Tweet Examples

            “Merch is up now ! https://store.lilskies.com” – @lilskies

“Hey guys I’ve added more tickets to Columbus and two new shows in Salt Lake City + Springfield! Get tickets at http://nfrealmusic.com” – @nfrealmusic

“DJ Hero: Ice Ice Baby / U Can’t Touch This – Vannila Ice / MC Hammer – 5… https://youtu.be/HNM4j7jNtW4 via @YouTube” – @vanillaice

Academic Promotion Tweet Examples

“There is a lot of misinformation around the impact of the new technologies, with AI spearheading both the concerns than the fears. But in this short reflection, with @Terencecmtse, piggybacking on the research done on our latest bo…https://lnkd.in/edQhSEp” – @Exp_Mark

“Return flight reading post #RealCollege2019!” – @Saragoldrickrab

 Inspirational

The next most common message goal among the two is inspirational tweets. Musician’s tweets consist of about 13%, while academic’s tweets consist of about 16% of inspirational posts. Interestingly, musicians aimed their most inspirational tweets directly to their fans. The posts are usually about them thanking them for coming out to the recent concert, purchasing their music, or streaming their new song or video. Almost all the inspirational posts made by the musicians are directly posted by them. Unlike the musicians, the academic’s inspirational tweets were mostly retweets, retweets with comments, and other forms of tweets.

Musician Inspirational Tweet Examples

“Woke up with a smile that won’t go away. Bakersfield, you made me feel like a king last night! Thank you COUNTRY RADIO for the best night and career an artist could have. LOVE this dive bar thing!!! love, g #DiveBarTour” @garthbrooks

Posts from @garthbrooks like this made her account one of the best among all we studied. She referenced one of her own promotions, but she included her audience in a sentimental way which showed how significant they are to her.

“Congratulations to @StevenCurtis on TWO @GMADoveAwards nominations! He is currently sitting at 58 Dove Awards won…and counting!” @StevenCurtis

Academic Inspirational Tweet Examples

“The response to this by another university’s *Admissions & Financial Aid Specialist* concisely demonstrate why we need more events like this. (Response to: “Come join @uoregon in celebrating the #LGBTSTEMDay on Friday 7/5, in the Willamette Hall atrium 9 am–3 pm! Enjoy an allyship workshop, a talk by @JBYoder, and a mingle with  refreshments and local LGBTQIA excellence in STEM. Program & info: https://calendar.uoregon.edu/event/uo_celebrates_2nd_lgbtstem_day”) ” @NadiaDSingh

“Change is coming, whether you like it or not. 1,4 million striking today in Germany alone. #ClimateStrike” @Exp_Mark

In doing this project we learned that to manage a personal brand on social media, one must both be personable and make it clear what exactly they are trying to promote. We collected a large sum of tweets, but they do not even make up a notable fraction of what users post every day in a pool of endless thoughts and ideas. A brand needs uniqueness and personality. It needs distinction. But it also needs a level of consistency with what it does to keep followers engaged.

When attempting to keep up that kind of engagement on our own social media channels, we do not want to come across as a corporate entity that is too busy or a wall that reflects any interaction followers attempt to make. Social media messages on Twitter are restrictive, but providing some sort of media or link within it can really beef up the content.   When classifying our tweets into metadata during the initial stage of assignment, the hardest part was determining what the message goal of the post was. This was because message goals go deeper into the roots of why the message existed in the first place. When we post on our own channels, we should often ask ourselves why we are posting what we are. Will it help or hurt us? It is good to share opinions as that contributes to uniqueness, but we can not go off the rails and upset a large chunk of potential listeners.

For the most part, the musicians’ accounts made proper use of promotional tweets. They incorporate many things like “thank yous”, direct responses to fans, and other ways of including their audience in their own tweets. Unlike them, the academics don’t follow that goal, or at least not as much. Through the many accounts we studied, we noticed that @dandrezner was the worst account in this manner. He didn’t have a single tweet that was promotional, and most of his tweets lack depth. This was evident in the responses and interactions he got with his tweets. Comparing his tweets to some of the other academics and especially the musicians, we found a huge difference in inclusivity.

Similar things may apply to running an account for a corporation, but what makes that different is no matter who within the company posts the message it will reflect the brand as a whole.  Companies should respond to comments just as often if not more than posting their own promotions. This satisfies potential customers by showing that their concerns matter. Though we only looked closely at musicians and academics, even they as individuals or small groups of people sometimes came across as more businesslike than personal. We will have to find a balance between the two by gauging our audience reaction. As stated in Likeable Social Media, “In an age where it’s virtually impossible to hide the truth, don’t bother trying” (Kerpen 137). Transparency and clear communication are key as those are what builds trust. Even though this sort of communication is digital, it still is real human interaction.

Kerpen, Dave. Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on All Social Networks That Matter. McGraw-Hill Education, 2019.


[1] During the initial collection and categorization of tweets, two tweets from musicians and three from academics were incorrectly labeled as “Multimedia” or “Other” so 12.08% and 40.83% are slight exaggerations. Our point of comparison still stands though.