How to make your tweets more relevant for your network

Below is an email I sent to two JRF staff about how to make the content they tweet more relevant for their network. They are working on a research programme entitled Neighbourhood Appoaches to Loneliness.


Just read an article in on the Guardian website entitled Working from home: why I miss the office. There are a couple of things in it about lack of human interaction which, obviously, is relevant for your work. The headline of the article would not necessarily suggest the link is relevant for your network but try lifting these lines from the article and tweet them with a link. So instead of the “standard” way to tweet this article, which probably looks something like this:

Working from home: why I miss the office via @guardianwork

 you could tweet:

Lack of human interaction ‘as harmful as never exercising & twice as damaging as being obese’ via @guardianwork

 –       or –

 Lack of human interaction can affect health as badly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic via @guardianwork

This should make that tweet more retweetable because people don’t even have to click the link and read the article to feel it’s worth sharing – a tweet like this consists of a fully self-contained and self-evident statistic. It’s a pithy little fact that anyone can relate to and on reading, might read actually aloud to a friend or colleague.

Twitter thrives on this! Supplying relevant information like this on Twitter will get you lots more of the right kind of followers because you’re providing a drip-feed of interesting information specific to your area of expertise. Never mind the fact that it’s not your/original content, sharing others’ content in this way will make more people look at your Twitter profile to see who you are. The most relevant people will follow you. You might follow some of those back and thus you are building your professional network online. This network will then help you to spread the word when you do have some original content to share from your work, e.g. a blog or publication.

After doing this, and at the time of writing this blog, Tracey’s tweet was retweeted 36 times and favorited 3 times. She also gained several new followers and was contacted by someone who was doing similar work.

For comparison, Tracey also tweeted at the same time a link to the article in a more “standard” format, i.e. Headline, URL link, via @username. As you can see (below), this got no retweets, replies or favorites at all, and so did nothing (measurable) for her online network.


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