Until now, the @NYTimes Twitter account largely has been automated — simply auto-tweeting the headlines of and a link to whichever stories are published on the Times‘ website.
But for this week, social media editors Lexi Mainland and Liz Heron turned off the auto-tweeter, and instead have been “hand-writing” (as it were) all their own tweets. So how has this experiment been going? 10,000 Words blog author Jessica Roy writes:
As it turns out, the differences between the automated feed and the handwritten one are pretty stark. For avid Twitter users, some of these changes may seem a little duh-worthy, but for a news organization with a notoriously ambivalent relationship with social media, these changes may represent an important attitudinal shift in regards to social networking.
According to Roy — and, really, it’s plain to see on the NYTimes Twitter feed — the human-written posts A) have a ton more retweets (that’s when another Twitter user passes a tweet of yours on to his or her friends, B) have a ton more @replies (that’s when another Twitter user replies to a tweet, typically asking a question or making a comment — chiming in, in other words), C) have a ton more personality, and D) have a ton more #hashtags (these are used to organize tweets by specific topics, and allow for easy searching by other Twitter users).
Meaning? Human-run Twitter feed are a lot more A) communal, B) interactive, C) fun, and D) useful. Maybe something to consider for your association, group, meeting, or convention’s Twitter feed?
For comparison’s sake, here’s a screengrab of an automated portion of the NYTimes Twitter feed:
And here’s a screengrab of the human-run portion:
Big difference, no?