Please RT to win a FREE luxury vacation!

First off… I’d like to apologise. Please forgive the title for it’s completely misleading.  There is no free luxury vacation here – this is in fact nothing more than a Twitter experiment.  Once published, this blog post will automatically go out on Twitter with the subject line “Please RT to win a FREE luxury vacation!” and I’m curious to see how much people re-tweet material on Twitter without actually reading it.

I have a strong suspicion that this goes on quite a lot and this experiment will hopefully confirm or deny that. Of course, the subject line is deliberately provocative and aims to entice retweets.  According to Dan Zarrella who is something of an expert when it comes to retweeting, some of the most re-tweeted words include ‘please’, ‘retweet’ (or ‘RT’ – I used the shorter version with Twitter’s character limitations in mind) and ‘free’.

Watch the Tweetmeme figure in the bottom right hand corner of the post. If I’m completely wrong with my suspicions, then the number of re-tweets will remain at “1”.  If instead that figure starts to rise, then it would seem to suggest that a number of Twitter users are ‘guilty as charged’ – unless of course, people are just re-tweeting the post merely because they are interested in the experiment (if that were the case, I’d expect some kind of comment to be added, rather than just an unedited re-tweet!).

I apologise once again for the somewhat misleading nature of the subject line (and it isn’t even my first offence!) but at the same time would urge people not to re-tweet something if they haven’t read it in full first.

EDIT: Tweetmeme is seeming to be slow to update (it’s still showing zero at the time of writing) and I’ve often suspected does not count all re-tweets.  In the first few minutes of the post going live on Twitter, this is what happened. I’ve edited Twitter usernames/faces as I’m not looking to humiliate anyone, rather it is here just to highlight the problem.  The snag is, those that need to see the message that you should read what you re-tweet, clearly aren’t reading this!

Comments (8)

  1. harry fowler says:

    Somewhat misleading……false advertising perhaps?

    Now can I have my free luxury holiday please Paul ;-)

  2. Paul Johnson says:

    By my reckoning from Twitter searches it has been re-tweeted more than 20 times so far, although Tweetmeme is showing just 6 of these.

  3. Paul Johnson says:

    More than 40 now of which Tweetmeme has recorded just 19. So, as a guide, perhaps take the Tweetmeme figure you see and double it for a rough approximation of the total.

  4. Tai Yuni says:

    Very clever! Too bad you can’t actually win a luxury vacation. It’s so true though, people today have a very short attention span and don’t have time to read everything.

  5. Maria Palma says:

    Interesting experiment. There are all kinds of giveaways going on now on Twitter. I think I may be guilty of retweeting without checking the link. Now I know better!

  6. irene says:

    I have to agree re the attention span, it is amazing how we end up skim reading most things not taking in the real content or emaphasis. sometimes it is a bit of information overload.

  7. Aurora says:

    The results don’t surprise me but I must confess I would have been careful and read first.

  8. Emily M says:

    Doesn’t surprise me either!

Leave a comment

Your actual name, not your online persona, website name, company name or keywords, otherwise your comment won't be published

Please do not advertise and make sure your comment adds value, otherwise we regret that it won't be published. Comments such as "Nice post. Thanks for sharing." do NOT add value to the discussion! Homepage links (not deep links) are allowed in the 'Website' field only - if you would like to advertise, please contact us for details and we will be happy to help.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

Our readers also enjoyed these posts…