To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.
— Jon Huntsman (@JonHuntsman) August 18, 2011
Governor Jon Huntsman still claims the most shared tweet ever sent by a Republican presidential candidate, racking in over 4,900 retweets. The result? A 55% increase in new followers and incredible mainstream media attention over the next week.
What made this tweet pop? It was pithy, funny, and sarcastic; all at once. If you don’t have the right voice, your message will never be heard, and Twitter employs its own language. Remember, this is a social network. Users love getting the news, but also want to be entertained.
Be succinct. Short phrases work better than long sentences. Just because you have 140 characters does not mean you must or even should use all of them. Using “to be clear” and “call me crazy” are far more effective than a tweet along these lines: “While you may think I am crazy, I want to be clear that I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming.”
Sarcasm works. It is one of the most common and effective forms of humor on Twitter. Be careful, don’t be an asshole, and make sure that the joke translates into 140 characters. Also avoid whining. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer. Surveys have shown negative sentiments and complaints are among the most disliked type of tweets. For instance, we’ve found that tweets containing :( get fewer retweets than those that include :) in them.