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Who is your Ideal Tweeter?

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social-media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: What is most likely to make you tweet or retweet a link to a news story?

  • I thought certain people in my network would appreciate the story 51.23%
  • I thought sharing the story would enhance my reputation as a source of information 16.75%
  • I agreed with an opinion espoused by the story 10.84%
  • I was surprised by the story 9.36%
  • I laughed at the story 7.88%
  • I thought the story was uplifting 1.97%
  • The story made me angry or upset 1.48%
  • I thought the story was likely to be retweeted by others 0.49%

A confession: There was a long, sad time in my life when I wanted to be a Serious Writer. I practiced and took classes and had long discussions with other Serious Writer-types about our craft and what we hoped our writing would mean to the world. I wish I were kidding.

One of the things my fellow SWs and I liked to speculate about was our Ideal Reader. The Ideal Reader is the person you keep in mind as you clack-clack-clack at the keyboard in the wee hours of the morning. You imagine this person — maybe it’s a mentor or a friend or another writer you admire — reading over your shoulder, nodding with approval and taking great delight in what you’re producing. If you do it long enough, you’ll find yourself changing what you’ve written to better please your IR. It’s part motivational technique, part focusing aid — and part inner critic. It’s not something every writer does, but it’s more common that most SWs would have you believe.

Obviously, I’m a lot less serious these days. But I still believe in using an IR. And more than that, I’ve found that the same notion carries over into social media. When I send out a tweet or a Facebook status update, I do it with someone in mind. Who I’m thinking of varies a little, but it’s always that desire to please one of my Ideal Tweeters that makes me share content.

More than half of the 206 SmartBrief on Social Media readers who took this week’s poll say the same. This made me happy — not just because it made me feel normal — but because that’s the way I think social media ought to work. It should be driven by individual connections, rather than self-promotion or relentless messaging. There’s enough of that in every other form of media.

Not that any of the other poll responses were wrong — though it did make me happy that so few people said they just tweet to be retweeted. Social communication is at its best when it’s authentic. And there’s nothing more authentic, more human than that need to please our own Ideal Reader.

What motivates you to share links? Do you find you often tweet with the same person in mind? Who is your Ideal Tweeter?