Saturday, 15 September 2012

Thoughts on more effective use of Twitter #tags by the MR industry

Twitter has emerged to become one of the primary news and discussion platform for market researchers over the last 2 years. I use it alongside 1,000's of other researchers around the world. It is one of the most amazing ways of keeping in touch with developments in market research. But I just wanted to open up a discussion about how we as an industry could use it more effectively.

Here are the issues I have:

1. getting swamped in tweets and having no means of effectively sorting them other than by @individual or common #tags

2. Not using twitter for a while and then there is a massive backlog that I can't easily deal with

As an industry we use a confusing array of end #tags: #mrx, #newmr #research #ngmr etc which assigns a text to be about our industry could we not all settle on just one?

We also have not established any consistent end hashtags to describe the type of content the tweet is about within the field of market research.

In rather obsessive compulsive style I downloaded 1,000 mr tweets and tried to classify them and many of them do fall to easily classifiable groups. Primarily I think they could be grouped into: ones that include links; news items; incidental serious remarks; incidental whitty remarks; guidance/advice & pieces self publicity.

What I think this highlights is that if we could introduce some more descriptive #tags we could start filtering out a whole load of fairly useless chatter which is great if you are an active user but makes navigating through tweets really difficult if you are not on top of things.

I think we need to focus on a protocol where in each tweet we has: One industry #tag or event #tag and 1 or 2 primary descriptive #tag

Here are some suggested new hash tags we could use to make tweets more descriptive and sortable, they obviously must be short and we cannot have more that half a dozen else they will clutter up the tweet.

News = #mrxn
Comment = #mrxc
Link = #mrxl
Guidance = #mrxg
Calls to action/publicising events=#mrxe

For retweeting
Funny = #mrxf
Perhaps a point scoring system =#1+

Anyone else got any other ideas/thoughts?

I wonder if we might set up an industry tweet committee, made up of some of the leading research tweeters to agree upon a new descriptive #tag language with which we can all adopt to more effectively communicate news across the MR industry?


This post was inspired by Dana Stanley's great tongue in cheek suggestions for new mr industry tweet hastags that I read last week:


  1. Jon,

    I like where you're going with this. The challenge here as I see it is that most people use hashtags to expand rather than restrict the number of people who see their tweets. Your classification system idea would yield more accurate slices if it were an external source doing the classification (as you did) than when the hashtags are chosen by the tweet author. For example, I could envision someone using #mrxg for anything vaguely self-promotional. I don't really have an solution unfortunately - I'm partial to using just #mrx then adding other descriptors like #dataviz as appropriate.


  2. Good point. the issue is that the #tags use up space too so I wonder if an idea might be to have say #mrx + #i for information i.e. a set of very short additional tags that when search for in tandem with #mrx will refine the search.