The way you phrase your tweets can give away how happy you are – just ask basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, who was today named the ‘happiest tweeter’.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Business School analysed the postings on Twitter by 13 celebrities, using a computer programme to reveal word patterns that pinpointed underlying emotions. From this, the researchers were able to work out the relative happiness of the celebrities. The most miserable celebrity, apparently, is Snoop Dogg.
Given that emotions clearly come through in tweets, I’ve been pondering how businesses could generate the best emotional response from their audience. Initial results of the analysis show that 80% of the tweets could be divided into just six cognitive categories: communication; time; personality; place; cognition; and “Look”, which according to the researchers is a PR mechanism to direct followers to the places and things the tweeter wants them to focus on.
The study showed a marked difference between political tweets and other celebrity tweets, with the former revealing themselves to be more one-dimensional and less emotional than the latter. Obama and Schwarzenegger tweet constantly about health, while Al Gore has a lot to say on the subject of climate change.
So, how can businesses use the results of this study to their best advantage? I think it boils down to acting more like a celebrity than a politician: make references to a variety of cognitive categories; let your emotions show (to an extent!); and try to vary the subjects you tweet about.