If you're trying to improve how far your Tweets get shared, try talking about Twitter itself in those 140 characters--it'll boost your chances according to some new analysis. But Facebookers seem to hate Twitter--its mention is a sharing killer.
There're a million ways to investigate the social trends exhibited in the status streams from Twitter and Facebook, but Dan Zarella has been examining "meta mentions" on the two social networks--instances when the system's users mention the system itself as part of a status update or Tweet.
His results are presented graphically above. If you mention Twitter during a Tweet, it pushes up your re-Tweet sharing chances by 300% over the average non-Twitter-mentioning one, and even mentioning Facebook boosts the sharing by over 60%. Meanwhile, Facebookers are less swayed by the tactic, and while they will still onwards share content that mentions Facebook, it only offers an improvement of about 220% over the average non-Facebook mentioning status. But, on the other hand, if you mention Twitter on Facebook, Zarella's data suggests it knocks your chances of having your status onwards-shared enormously.
In essence: Twittering about Twitter is a good audience hook, but Facebooking about Twitter is a terrible idea. Which is all very interesting if you're a PR professional looking to promote a company on either system.
So what drives this behavior? Zarella's conclusion is that Twitter is more heavily populated by social media geeks, keen to engage more with the very system they're currently using, whereas Facebookers aren't so intrigued by the way the social network itself works. This is borne out by the fact that Twitterers are happy to talk about Facebook, and come up with new ways of using Twitter that actually expand the site's usefulness. But when Facebook makes any sort of tweak to improve its UI, its system or its privacy, the Facebook population gets up in arms about the disturbance to how Facebook should be.
To hear more news like this follow me, Tweet me, and Re-Tweet me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.