Academics are launching a study to understand what aspects of Twitter content are considered valuable, and how that impacts presentation and perception of online identity.
People may reach for Twitter if they have just had a great breakfast, updated their blog, feel exhausted, or want to share a news article. The question being explored is -- who gives a tweet?
Responding to the widespread perception that the majority of Twitter updates are boring, inane, or largely sandwich-related, researchers from the University of Southampton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Georgia Institute of Technology want Twitter users to anonymously rate their friends' tweets.
"Social networking sites currently take an optimistically positive view of status updates," says Paul André, graduate student at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science. "Facebook enables users to 'like' their friends' updates, and Twitter has 'favourites'. But this ignores the value that could be gained from understanding which updates are disliked and why."
Michael Bernstein, PhD student at MIT, comments: "Analysing the negatively rated tweets, and the consensus that forms around them, will help us understand the emerging approved or accepted norms in these new forms of online communication."
The researchers have launched the website 'WGATweet.com' (Who Gives A Tweet), and are asking Twitter users to sign up and receive ratings from both followers and strangers. "The site allows us to gather a more nuanced type of feedback than is currently available, and offers users an insight into how their updates are perceived by different groups, helping them understand what their impact really is," explains Kurt Luther, graduate student at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Twitter users can sign up (for free rating and analysis of their tweets) at http://wgatweet.com
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