Signal to Noise – Is Your Twitter Feed Alienating People?by Andrew on Aug 30, 2009 • 6:46 pm 5 Comments
Twitter is no longer new and exciting. Over the past few months it’s developed into a valuable marketing recourse that can generate huge amounts of traffic and whip up real interest from otherwise untapped sources.
But are you using Twitter properly? With most established users subscribing to at least 100 different Twitterers, you’ve got to stand out from the crowd and attract attention. If you’re posting nothing but links and spam, people will ignore you. If you post nothing but inanities, people will ignore you. Getting your “signal to noise” ratio correct is crucial.
Signal and Noise
Tweets can broadly be categorises into one of two types – Signal or Noise.
Signal is “valuable” content that you put out. Links to content, products or services you’re offering, as well as advice or retweets of other users’ interesting content is all signal.
The problem with signal is that constantly posting nothing but links to your own work can come across as niche, self-aggrandising, or just plain boring. Signal can also be very impersonal, which plays against the social aspect of social media. Therefore, to counteract it, you need noise.
Noise, broadly speaking, is everything else. The little insights into your character or day-to-day life that you pass on through your tweets. Noise helps you connect with your followers on a personal level, by sharing things that you’d normally only share with friends and family.
The problem with noise, is that unless you live a life full of mystery and intrigue it can come across as dull. Sharing amusing anecdotes or selected opinions will help your followers learn more about your personality. Updating them on every nose-scratch or passing thought will likely lead to stifled yawns and mass unfollowing.
The Balancing Act
The key to Twitter then, is to balance the two properly. According to a study, only 8.7% of Tweets are deemed interesting enough to pass along. If you can aim to make around 15% of your tweets signal and keep your noise quirky and interesting, you’ll gain followers and traffic. Just make sure you keep an eye out for which of your posts are being passed on, and whether followers are dropping out or tuning in.
If you pay attention, you’ll be able to fine-tune your Tweets and reap the rewards.