Twitter’s 140-character constraints can feel limiting. Suddenly, “because” becomes the colloquial “b/c” and acronyms abound. I’m SMH (you know, shaking my head) just thinking about it.
Yet, as frustrating as the restriction can be, a team of researchers out of MIT’s SENSEable City Lab discovered enthusiasm can melt the social media stress away. As their work shows: The more excited we are, the shorter we tweet.
The team analyzed the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament, “a five-day event where people posted more than 40 million tweets,” according to researchers. What they found is that the messages people would publish before each round were longer, while, during the round, short bursts of excitement would erupt, particularly during a winning shot. And the pattern repeated itself daily.
“Posts become shorter and more frequent during the climax of an event,” said Professor Carlo Ratti, head of the SENSEable City Lab, in a statement. “This follows a logarithmic relationship, as in many other laws of psychophysics that describe human phenomena — from hearing to visual perception.”
The researchers called their project “Tweet Bursts,” and have been working in partnership with telecommunications provider Ericsson to explore how individuals express excitement online, with the goal of improving our collective understanding of human behavior.
When there’s a lot of excitement happening, the team discovered the average length of posts drop substantially from 90 characters to 60. This shortening of text also appears to span a variety of other media, including Facebook and online forums.
Not convinced? Take a look at the researchers’ video for yourself.
Image via MIT’s SENSEable City Lab