“To tweet, or not to tweet—that is the question.”—William Shakespeare
“Around eighty-seven tweets ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”—Abraham Lincoln
“A new commandment I give unto you: That ye tweet one another, as I have tweeted you, and that ye also retweet one another.”—John 13:34
Okay, I made up that last one. The idea for this blog came to me when I found a document about retweeting in the recycling bin at work (it’s a whole other story). The piece began with this quotation:
“Ideas shape the course of history.”—John Maynard Keynes
The article was entitled “Why Re-Tweets Matter” by social media marketing and viral media scientist Dan Zarrella. Zarrella takes Twitter really seriously—so seriously that he has charts with actual statistics and conclusions.
“For the first time in human history,” writes Zarrella, “we can begin to gaze into the inner working of the contagious idea. That most powerful force can now be put under a microscope and probed for its secrets.”
This raises some questions:
- How much of my blog can be made up of quotations before you can argue I didn’t write it?
- Do you really want to gaze into the inner workings of a contagious idea?
- How come we talk about the Internet as if it’s a disease?
Let me know if you have the answers to these questions, or if you’ve seen any good movies lately. Meanwhile, as I read Zarrella’s work I became increasingly aware that my liberal arts education did not prepare me for the post-modern world. He uses terms like “dataset” and “RTpF,” while I’ve only recently become comfortable with “ASAP” and “synergy.” How can I keep up with this pace of change? And what would Jesus do? Oh wait, we already answered that.
One very interesting aspect of Zarrella’s report is the twenty most and twenty least retweetable words. “You” is among the most retweetable (no doubt because it’s all about you—but wait, I thought it was all about me!) as well as “retweet,” and the number “10.” Not 9, not 7, not 3—10. Now you know. Among the least retweetable words was “lol,” which doesn’t bother me—I could live without lol playing any role in the English language.
So there you have it. Next week we’ll discuss whether retweeting proves reincarnation exists. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sambarry. And remember: to tweet is human, to retweet, divine. I think Martin Luther King Jr. said that.