Campus News in Brief

Some tweets are not worth reading, researchers say

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Georgia Institute of Technology found that Twitter users say only about a third of the tweets they receive are worth reading.

According to Twitter’s website, more than 200 million tweets are sent each day. However, most users get little feedback about the messages they send, except when their tweets are retweeted by their followers or when people opt to stop following them.

“If we understood what is worth reading and why,” said Paul André, a postdoctoral fellow in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and lead author of the study, in a university press release, “we might design better tools for presenting and filtering content, as well as help people understand the expectations of other users.”

André worked with his colleagues — Michael Bernstein and Kurt Luther, doctoral students at MIT and Georgia Tech, respectively — to create “Who Gives a Tweet?”: a website that collects readers’ evaluations of tweets.

Those who have visited André and his team’s website were promised feedback on their tweets if they agreed to anonymously rate tweets by the users they were already following. Over a period of 19 days in late 2010 and early 2011, 1,443 visitors to the site rated 43,738 tweets from the accounts of 21,014 Twitter users they followed.

Overall, the readers liked just 36 percent of the tweets and disliked 25 percent, while another 39 percent elicited no strong opinion.
The researchers will present their work next Monday at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Seattle.

Local journalists to discuss new media in CAS panel

Carnegie Mellon’s Center for the Arts in Society (CAS), a research center within the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Fine Arts, will host a panel of six members of local media outlets who will discuss how technology and social media are changing news.

The panel event is titled “New Media/News Media: How New Media Is Changing The Aesthetics of News,” and will be held Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in Steinberg Auditorium (Baker Hall A53). The event is free and open to the public.

Topics will include how the panelists’ roles have evolved due to technological innovations, what those changes mean for consumers, and what the future holds for the media industry.

The panelists scheduled are John Allison, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette opinion editor; Deanna Garcia, an Essential Pittsburgh Radio reporter; Maria Lupinacci, an award-winning blogger; Tony Norman, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist; Chris Potter, a Pittsburgh City Paper editor; and Martha Rial, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The panel event is part of the recently launched CAS Media Initiative, which explores the role new media plays in social life, cultural politics, and political mobilizations.

James Duesing, a professor of art, and Kathy Newman, an associate professor of English, are leading the initiative. The CAS initiative will also support three academic projects in addition to sponsoring events on media issues.