The 3 Laws of Tweeto-Dynamics

Thermodynamics is the engineering study of energy and heat transfer within a system of components. The laws describe how energy transfers through and between system elements.
In many ways, social networks are a form of an informational energy system. Interpreting loosely the basic laws from the field of Thermodynamics to Twitter social networking, I will describe some basic Twitter principles in the terms of these basic laws. In many ways, then these can be seen as social networking laws or strategies. Each of the strategies will have a number of tactics that can be done to conform to the law. Likewise, failing to meet a basic law can result in a less successful account.

LAW 1: Increase in Followers of an Account = Account attention + Work done on the account

This may be broadly interpreted that an account will have more followers when more time and effort is put into an account. Attention and work can take on many multiple forms:

1) Building relationships with other users
2) Delivering material that has broad appeal
3) Being active in conversations
4) Interacting with system users
5) Concurrent involvement in other social networks.
6) Interaction with other users

LAW 2: Tweet activity increases the more you tweet others

This principal implies that you receive more tweets the more you tweet with fellow users. This can be found in many areas of Twitter:

1) Users retweeting your messages to other users.
2) Users favoriting your messages so that others can see them
3) Users forwarding your message to other users
4) Additional users reading the messages you are posting
5) Users searching and finding text you’ve entered
6) Users looking over your time line
7) Users recommending you to their friends and followers.
8) Suggesting users to follow through #followFriday and Mentions activities
9) Participating in Trending Topics or Hashtag games

This means that your timeline becomes more active the more you are posting meaningful things to the perspective of an individual follower in your account. A common perspective can come from similar interests and motivations. A common perspective is difficult to find when you have a large following due to the diversity, but in general, just be a decent person.

More messages, though, does not mean tweeting the same message (flooding) into your timeline in a short period of time. Tools that automatically send out large number of messages in a short period of time will cause you to lose hard earned followers; I know this from experience, so refrain from using them. Users do not want to have their timeline display taken over and occupied by a large number messages from a single user in a short period of time.

Users are on Twitter at different times in the day and for different lengths of time, so a certain level of message repetition is important to be able to have certain messages seen by users, just don’t overdo it all the time since you don’t know how many people have already seen a message. I recommend a minimum period of at least 10 minutes prior to sending a message of similar content.

LAW 3: As Tweets approaches zero, the activity in an account approaches a minimum.

This principle implies that if you stop tweeting, the number of individual mentions one sees in an account will go towards zero over time. If other users don’t see your name in a twitter stream or if no messages are posted, then users will not interact with you. Sometimes the squeaky tweet gets the followers.

Conversely, this implies that more tweets will result in more activity in your account. It is possible to over do it by posting too much content that users do not find useful to them. If you notice follower accounts starting to drop, it is always a good idea to look at the timeline history to see what type of messages caused the change. A free tool such as Tweet Effect can give you some insight to the follower changes of your account based on your timeline. Shown below are some of the changes on my account tonight based on thank you mentions I sent where green shows followers additions and red shows follower loses.

Its not an exact measure means, but it provides some insight to how messages impact an account. I feel an ideal goal is to find out what you enjoy creating and do that activity with the account. People will find you the more you tweet and you can find them too.

The Verdict

Certainly celebrities (ie. #Winning ) and politicians take on a special form of these laws where the attractive entropy of those accounts is much greater than most accounts. In the majority of accounts, it appears the laws of Thermodynamics can describe to a certain level of applicability elements of social networking dynamics. After all, information is a form of energy as shown through the work of Shannon. In some ways, the laws from Shannon may be an even closer approximation to the informational nature of a social networking account. Maybe a future blog, I’d like to see what could be learned from that approach.

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