The 20 Words and Phrases That Will Get You the Most ReTweets

To help expand my ReTweeting research, please take my new survey and encourage your followers to do the same.

My research has shown that the number of followers exposed to a Tweet has only a weak correlation to the number of ReTweets it gets, indicating that the content of the tweet may be more important than the user posting it. To begin to understand the key characteristics of highly-ReTweetable content I took a look at the top 10,000 (out of over 158,000 total) most ReTweeted tweets in my ReTweet Mapping database.

I broke down the most common words and phrases in these highly ReTweeted posts and cherry picked through the list (ignoring very common words) to uncover what I think are 20 of the most ReTweetable words and phrases. Browsing through the list below should give you a pretty good idea of what kind of content gets ReTweeted the most.

Some highlights from the list:

The word “you” while very common, seems to occur especially often in ReTweets, indicating that if you’re talking to “me” I’m more likely to ReTweet it.

Its really not surprising that “Twitter” ranks high, but this is a good reminder that self-reference is always good for buzz in social media.

Again we see “please” and “please ReTweet” (“please rt” also ranked highly). I’ve written about this a few times, but its hard to overstate how important it is to ask for the ReTweet when you want it, calls to action work.

The word “free” seems to remind is to provide value, especially value at no cost to our readers, as does the word help.

The occurrence of the word “help” could indicate either a tweet that promises to help you or a request for help. Whichever it is, it reinforces both providing value and calls to action.

Social Media” as a phrase ranks high, so again, don’t be afraid to tweet about tweeting, blogging, networking, digging, etc.

The number “10” made a surprise appearance high on the list. Top 10s are popular, always have been and always will be, don’t forget it. The word “top” also made an appearance on the list.

New Blog Post” is the common prefix used when a person tweets about, well, a new blog post to their site. That this ranks so highly tells us that tweeting your posts is a very smart thing to do.

Occurrences Word or Phrase
1364 you
1138 twitter
701 please
598 retweet
397 post
389 blog
352 social
306 free
304 media
269 help
262 please retweet
262 great
237 social media
229 10
222 follow
187 how to
165 top
164 blog post
128 check out
118 new blog post
Read More

Introducing The ReTweetability Metric

A topic of much recent discussion has been how do you quantify influence in social media and social networks. In the context of Twitter, much ado has been made of purely network-size-based statistics, which are easily gamed and present a shallow picture of the process of viral influence.

Extending from the work I did with the ReTweet Mapper, I’ve been exploring more intelligent metric to analyze the influence wielded by a user’s Tweets. My data has shown me that while the actual size of a user’s follower network has a positive correlation to the amount of ReTweets they get, the relationship is actually rather weak. This tells me that the actual content of a user’s Tweets may be more important to how influential that user is.

In an attempt to algorithmically study how “viral” someone’s Tweets are, I propose the following ReTweetability Metric:

This is designed to control for both the rate of Tweets the user posts and the number of followers the user has, so that this metric represents soley how ReTweetable a user’s posts are. This formula typically yields very small results so for the purposes of readability I’ve taken to multiplying it by a large constant, 1,000,000.

To demonstrate how this metric works, I’ve calculated it for the top 100 most ReTweeted users in my system which you can see below. This list is sorted by most ReTweeted, as I don’t yet have enough users’ ReTweetability metrics calculated to produce a “Most ReTweetable” list.

User ReTweetability Metric
guykawasaki 2.13909
BreakingNewsOn 2.10939
problogger 3.25695
mashable 2.45021
timoreilly 6.27744
chrisbrogan 0.382216
TechCrunch 1.71331
kevinrose 2.32571
StatSheet 1515.92
Scobleizer 0.592066
Armano 2.27349
JesseNewhart 4.07655
chrispirillo 1.85232
nytimes 0.583496
zaibatsu 0.853129
steverubel 4.18765
mayhemstudios 1.25115
codinghorror 4.69129
unmarketing 0.657318
TheOnion 7.05509
Twitter_Tips 6.81798
domestic_diva 25.6448
skydiver 5.37113
wilw 1.14165
PRsarahevans 1.15549
shortyawards 0.0536032
zappos 5.63933
twitter 14.5021
Pistachio 0.922368
davewiner 1.37601
levarburton 5.05578
Foodimentary 1.71968
tweetbomb 13.6751
themediaisdying 3.83852
perrybelcher 1.14216
AJGaza 6.19664
stephenfry 2.44443
jayrosen_nyu 5.08907
tinybuddha 98.526
lancearmstrong 1.41447
jeanlucr 4.10289
BreakingNewz 1.53622
laughingsquid 1.81378
caseywright 5.34765
mbites 4.81602
fatwallet 155.291
CNETNews 1.73988
weirdnews 3.32362
MacHeist 386.29
pleasedressme 89.7901
gapingvoid 2.33999
tferriss 16.5756
styletime 1.56265
cnn 1.10834
shelisrael 0.848424
garyvee 0.733047
darthvader 50.3311
howardlindzon 2.34331
shanselman 3.302
ColonelTribune 5.27153
redstarvip 2.33445
JasonCalacanis 0.393586
smashingmag 3.75457
ev 2.4533
barefoot_exec 0.288966
boris 15.4311
jakrose 1.02494
LeoLaporte 1.25961
manifestmmind 12.7619
mattcutts 4.91364
imjustcreative 0.891586
jowyang 0.774668
MrTweet 4.1668
sugree 1.00299
danzarrella 4.24575
OwenC 46.3504
Andrew303 10.4188
jemimakiss 3.27651
BrentSpiner 2.62709
zen_habits 13.1589
1938media 2.93775
MariSmith 0.40963
HubSpot 47.0784
cnnbrk 2.68889
copyblogger 0.807263
MarketingProfs 0.565924
Suntimes 4.33059
UstreamTV 3.67757
tamar 22.9639
BertDecker 10.9617
rww 4.83897
feliciaday 4.0208
TwitPic 26.2796
QassamCount 24.4141
gazanews 11.8672
secrettweet 0.485707
Positive_Thinkr 17.6236

Read More

Update to TweetSuite

The last few weeks have been kind of hectic for me, so its taken me longer than I’d wanted to update TweetSuite, but I’ve uploaded a new version with some bugfixes and a few new features.

If you’re using and like TweetSuite, please consider voting for me in the Shorty Awards.

The fixes include:

  • AutoTweeting only on New Posts
  • Max TweetBacks to display works now
  • TweetBacks retrieval was optimized and made much faster

And the new features include:

  • Ability to add a prefix to AutoTweets
  • A function that allows you to place the Tweet-This button anywhere in your template (inside the WP loop)

The Tweet-This button will appear wherever you place this code:

<?php tweetsuite_tweetthis_button(); ?>

Again, this is still pretty beta stuff and there are a few more issues I have to work out before I consider this to be verion 1.0, so please, bear with me. I also intend to work on better documentation for the next version.

Download the updated version here.

Read More

Beyond TweetBacks: Introducing TweetSuite

TweetBacks are great, but they’re just a single feature, the integration of Twitter and blogging can and should go much deeper than that.

And if you liked TweetBacks or TweetSuite, please vote for me in the Open Web Awards.

So today I’m releasing the first version of TweetSuite, a Twitter-WordPress integration plugin that includes the following features:

  • Server-side (no-JS or remote calls) TweetBacks
  • ReTweet-This buttons for each TweetBack
  • A digg-like Tweet-This Button
  • Automatic Tweeting of new posts
  • A Most-Tweeted Widget
  • A Recently-Tweeted Widget
  • A My-Last-Tweets Widget
  • A My-Favorited-Tweets Widget

You can see a lot of the functionality contained in the plguin, just by looking around my blog. Remeber again, this is beta stuff, and upgrades will be made available through the automatic upgrade feature.

If you want to use the automatic Tweeting of new posts, you’ll need to enter your Twitter username and password on TweetSuite’s settings page, and if you’re currently using any TweetBack plugin, you’ll need to deactivate it. To use the widgets, go to Presentation>Widgets.

This plugin does not contact my server, or use JS, and it will not fill your comments with spam like some users have reported with the TweetBacks plugin.

The graphics, including the Tweet-This and ReTweet-This buttons were designed by the freakin’ awesome Jeff at GoMedia.

Read More

New TweetBack This Button

Just another quick post to let everyone know about the new button I’ve released for TweetBacks, you can see it on an older post, as well as on this one.

This buttons was graciously designed by Jeff at GoMedia who also did the bigger TweetBacks logo.

To use the number-of-TweetBacks feature you’ll need to turn on the TweetStats feature of TweetBacks, otherwise it’ll just say “Tweet”.

To use just copy and paste the code below like you would with a Digg button.

<script src=""></script>

You can also optionally provide your Twitter username after ‘from=’ and the text you’d like the TweetBacks to contain after ‘title=’. If you don’t include these parameters, the TweetBack will just include a shortened link to your post and your readers can provide their own descriptions.

Read More

My TweetBacks WordPress Plugin

You should use TweetSuite rather than a TweetBacks plugin.

I’ve just put together a WordPress Plugin that take advantage of the new features I built into TweetBacks. This is still beta stuff and you should expect updates to it soon and frequently. For the most part v.2 of the JS version works the easiest.

Download the beta to test.

I’ve gotten a few questions about this, after you activate the plugin, you have to go to Settings>TweetBacks and enable it.

And that’s the new logo by the amazing GoMedia above.

Read More

TweetBacks Beta V.2

Since launching my implementation of TweetBacks a few days ago, the response has been much larger than I expected (in fact Twitter CEO Evan Williams remarked that he had just drawn TweetBacks on the Twitter whiteboard a few weeks ago), and the guys at MediaTemple have been great in working with me to help scale the server to meet the demand.

Remember that this is still beta, and the first time you view a page that has TweetBacks installed on it, the script will take a moment to load, subsequent views of the page will be fast. If you’ve installed TweetBacks on your blog, please leave your URL in a comment. I’d love to see how it looks out in the wild.

To install, just copy and paste this JavaScript into your template/theme where you want your TweetBacks to appear:

<script src=""></script>

I’ve just released a TweetBacks WordPress Plugin.

I’ve been listening to what people have said about TweetBacks and have implemented a few new features in response to the great feedback I’ve gotten.

First up are the 6 new configuration options I’ve added, allowing users to customize how TweetBacks are displayed on their blogs.

New Configuration Options:

  1. Option to display only the number of TweetBacks (countonly=true)
  2. Option to limit the max number of TweetBacks shown (max=10)
  3. Option to hide user avatars (noavatars=true)
  4. Ability to hide TweetBacks from certain users (blockedusers=user1+user2)
  5. Switch to turn off all styling other than avatar (nostyle=true)
  6. Switch to turn off the title (notitle=true)

You can use these configuration options by including them in the URL you use to call my TweetBacks javascript in your template like this (they can go in any order and you block as many users as you want):

<script src=""></script>

TweetStats (statistics about TweetBacks of your content).

Additionally, I began building a system to report stats on TweetBacks. The first feature is a list of the most Tweeted posts on your site (you can see it in action in my side bar under “Most Tweeted”), it works like this:

<script src=""></script>

Just copy and paste that code into the sidebar of your template. You can change the styling of the list is displays via CSS:

div#mostTweeted {

In order to take advantage of this, you have to turn on the “stats” feature in TweetBacks by appending stats=true to your TweetBack script as seen above. By default the sidebar script will use the contents of the page’s <title> tag as the link text, but you can customize this by proving the TweetBack script with a title parameter. WordPress users can easily use code like this:

<script src="<?php urlencode(the_title()); ?>"></script>

This script has one option so far: the maximum number of posts to show. By default it will show 5.

I also added and changed a few things users had requested, as well as fixed a couple of bugs that had been affecting some sites:

Changes & Additions:

  • Removed the link to the specific tweet’s URL
  • Added the date the tweet was posted on
  • Added support for

Bug Fixes:

  • Total TweetBacks number matches actual number of tweets
  • and support is now functional

Future plans include integration with my ReTweet mapping system. Over 70% of all ReTweets contain a link, meaning the majority of them are actually TweetBacks. By using my TweetBacks script, you’ll be able to track (and map) the spread of your content through Twitter through normal TweetBacks as well as ReTweets.

Read More

TweetBacks Beta

Update: I’ve released a TweetBacks WordPress Plugin that includes TweetBacks as a feature.

In response to a Mashable post about how Twitter will change blog design in 2009, yesterday I created Tweetbacks.

They work kind of like trackbacks, but instead of listing blogs linking to a specific post, it lists Tweets about a specific post. You can see it in action on my blog, just above the comments. It currently finds mentions of the URL through the top 5 most popular URL shorteners on Twitter: Tinyurl,,, Twurl, and SnipURL. I used’s list of top shorteners to prioritize. To prevent it from running afoul of Twitter’s search API rate limits it functions via javascript.

This is still in beta, but to install it all you have to do is include this line in your template where you want the Tweetbacks to appear:

<script src=""></script>

You can style how the list appears with CSS like this:

#tweetbacks {
#tweetbacks li {

This tool (as well as my ReTweet mapper) are currently free, but they do use bandwidth and server processing time that I pay for. If you like my Tweetbacks tool, my ReTweet tools or the other work I do, consider donating to help pay for it:

Read More

The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2008

2008 could be called the “breakthrough” year for my blog, so here the top 10 most visited posts (a and a few pages). Cue the sappy montage music:

  1. Ideas do not spread because they are good
    Probably my most “controversial” post, here I explain that ideas don’t spread because of some subjective measure of “quality”, they spread because they are “good at spreading.”
  2. When viral marketing attacks
    A list of some of my favorite viral marketing failures.
  3. The science, history and how to of contagious laughter
    Here I study contagious laughter in history and in science. I also start to detail how you can create your own contagious laughter epidemic.
  4. How to make and spread rumors
    Using research from WW2 era scientists, I surveyed how rumors were weaponized and can be best created and spread.
  5. The viral marketing glossary
    I found myself using a lot of jargon, so I decided to put together this list of common viral/social marketing terms.
  6. Viral marketing campaign checklist
    There is a lot more that goes into a well planned and executed viral campaign than just throwing an iPhone in a blender. This post is a list of the steps that I typically take.
  7. 10 symptoms of highly viral WordPress themes
    Here I study how a WordPress theme can help contribute to the infectiousness of your blog.
  8. The most ReTweeted Twitter users
    Not exactly a blog post, but one of the newest favorites here on this list is based on my ReTweet mapping system and shows who has been ReTweeted the most in the last hour, day and week.
  9. What is a meme: Intro to memetics
    An introduction to my (admittedly unique) understand of what a “meme” is, from ancient Sumerians to modern cyberpunk.
  10. The viral preferences of Twitter users
    Based on my viral content sharing survey, this is the what and how of viral sharing by Twitter users.

So that’s what the numbers say, what was your favorite post of the last year?

Read More