Steve Pociask wrote an article in Forbes last week, “Google’s One Million Books,” on the Google Book Search Settlement. There’s been a lot of commentary about GBS recently, as the October Settlement hearing approaches, and I was doubtful that tweeting this article with it’s forgettable title would get much attention.
Reading the lead paragraph of the article, though, I was struck by the lead sentence: “Imagine that your home and the homes of millions of your neighbors are burglarized.” Pociask suggests that the “burglar” metaphor might be a good fit for the Settlement. Hmmm, I think, surely someone will pick up this bold, unique metaphor in a tweet. But with a Twitter search I found that, surprisingly, no one had used it. And searching further, I found that the only tweets on it just used the article’s uninspiring title, and not surprisingly, few of these had gotten any retweets. So I tweeted to bring out the “burglar” theme, and got two retweets by the end of the day. Here’s my tweet:
I also added the name of the author and his connection with the Amer Consumer Inst, which I think added interest to the tweet, and which had gotten little attention in previous tweets on the article.
So, the simple lesson — When tweeting a link to an article, remember there’s no rule that you have to use the title that the author used. If it’s boring and unexciting and you think your followers’ eyes will gloss over reading it, use something else! READ THE ARTICLE and see if it has an interesting theme that’s not brought out by the title, and base your tweet on that instead.
Eric Rumsey is on Twitter @ericrumsey