The nature of Twitter as a social network has always been about broadcasting and while I’m sure there are some stats to back my next statement up, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a regular twitter user will be following quite a number of accounts, that tweet quite a number of times in a day. I doubt there is anyone, or at least, that it IS the norm to read a tweet, click through a link and move on to the next tweet. Most of the time for me, I’m constantly scrolling through the feed and scanning for things that interest me. I’m not sure whether there’s a psychological reason behind it but i tend to scroll past posts with images that are cropped, i don’t even bother reading the caption that comes with it.
This is how I process my twitter stream:
1. If tweet is all characters – read the first few words and see if it interests me, if not, move to next tweet. If i make it to the end of the tweet and there is no mystery, move to next tweet. Otherwise, click the article that comes with it. If I’m still bored after that, move to next tweet, start over.
2. If tweet has an image – if it piques my interest, read the copy (refer to 1). If not, move to next tweet.
Here are some screenshots i took of my current twitter timeline and the live commentary you would hear if i was processing out loud.
MEDI-move to next tweet…
A post about creating games, promoted? must be a contest, not really in the mood for that now, maybe next time.
a side comment on this one, if the intent of the campaign was partially brand awareness (since the logo was placed in the image), well, they’ve succeeded on that.
Great image! I actually spend some time reading everything on this image.. learning stuff from people who look like they’re real and happy. *reads caption* oh and here are their twitter handles, let me click through their profiles, maybe i follow the happy people. Or Maybe next time, move on to next tweet.
Gross! what the heck is that?? Go to 1.
Interesting… *clicks link*
Huh? Move on to next tweet
Interesting *clicks link*
So, you get the gist. Obviously, the above was how i would personally react, and your audience may react differently. Some images may compel one person more than the next.
It’s important to understand the context in which your audiences are consuming most of the content that you put out, but in the realm of twitter, we need to keep ourselves updated on how they deliver different types of media to the twitter stream (in this case, images).
Key take-away? Let’s stop putting images for the sake of putting images. The rest of what you say may be overlooked if you don’t pay attention to these details.