Email Communication Part 2: Measuring Impact, Subject Line Length, Email Frequency & More


Earlier in the week I wrote about the basics of good email communication, the three Ts. In this follow-up I want to cover a few more complex things which didn't fit in the previous post, particularly around the theme of an email newsletter.


Why do people unsubscribe from mailing lists and newsletters?

Reasons people no longer want to receive a regular email from an organisation include, in ascending order of importance according to Litmus: Found an alternative way to get the same info, Preferred to seek out info on their own, Found the content irrelevant, Received too many emails generally, Found the content to be repetitive or boring over time.

And in First Place? 54% of people said the reason they unsubscribed was this: Emails came too frequently. Don't over-saturate your audience - pick your moments, based on THEIR needs, the lifecycle of their work, and on how much vital information you have to impart. Which leads us to...

So how frequently should I email?

In Part 1 of this post I talked about the importance of being Timely - emailing at the right time of the day so that your email is received both at a time when people actually read emails and when yours isn't buried under a pile of other emails coming in at the same time. 3pm appears to be the sweet spot.

There's another aspect to being timely though. Firstly, Monday appears to be the best day on which to send an email newsletter - for all the reasons you'd imagine (people are still full of vim and vigour early on in the week, and not yet weighed down by all the things they wished they'd got done but ran out of time to do).

Secondly, I believe it's really important NOT to email to a fixed schedule, for example the first Monday of every month. A vital aspect of good communication is not wasting opportunities by communicating when you don't need to - it reduces the value of your communication overall and edges you closer to becoming part of the white noise. So send your newsletter or other 'important updates' email only when there's a weight of useful things to say, rather than just when it's the time you usually send it. Communicate because your audience NEEDS to hear what you have to say, rather than because you need to send a monthly update.

How long should my subject line be?

Click to view this as part of a larger (and very useful) article on EmailAudience

Click to view this as part of a larger (and very useful) article on EmailAudience

Click to view this as part of a larger (and also quite useful) article on MailChimp

Click to view this as part of a larger (and also quite useful) article on MailChimp

I mentioned in Part 1 that I think the Subject Line is hugely important, and that calling your email 'Newsletter' is a recipe for being completely ignored. You need a decent title, one which gives people a specific reason to open the email; a benefit to them.

As to how long this subject line should be, there is conflicting evidence about this. EmailAudience found that very short worked well, medium length worked REALLY badly, and very long (tweet length subject lines, basically) worked fantastically.

However MailChimp analysed 12 billion emails and concluded 'Subject line length means absolutely nothing'! If you compare the graphs showing the two companies' findings, they do actually follow broadly the same pattern - short and long are good, medium length doesn't do much for anyone. It's just that how much of a difference this makes is clearly reflected as being much smaller by MailChimp. 

They conclude with this very sensible statement which makes a good point about Subject Line length and the kinds of devices and platforms your audience are reading on.

Your audience is chock-full of individuals with different reading habits, interests, and demographics. Maybe my audience is full of Apple fanboys and every one of them reads my newsletter on their iPhone. Well, then the subject line they see might need to be shorter for their small screen. Or maybe my newsletter is geared toward businessfolk who mostly run Outlook. In that case, maybe a longer subject is more acceptable.
— MailChimp

Like so many things, it comes down to understanding your audience. Which takes us neatly on to...

How can I measure and track the impact of my email?

There are elaborate things you can do with Gmail to track open-rates of emails, but I think that's much more important in traditional business than it is in non-profit comms. More important is to measure and track the impact - essentially, do people ACT on the email, and can I influence how often this happens by changing when I send the email, the subject line, the tone, the length and so on?

If your email is a just general update, measuring impact is very hard to do. If, however, it includes a Call to Action, and that action has a website involved - e.g. 'Try our new online resource [link to resource]' or 'Come to our workshop [link to booking form]', it becomes possible to see how effective the email is by measuring the Engagement Rate. This is the number of clicks on the link divided by the number people who received the email - so take a really basic example, if you email 100 people and 30 click the link, the Engagement rate is 30%. 

How do you find out how many people click on the link? You use a unique URL created especially for the email via is a URL shortening service (useful in itself) which provides two fantastic functions for Comms purposes - it allows you to customise the URL, and it counts the number of times that specific customised URL is used.

(So for example, at the end of the 10 Tiny Tips for Trainers slidedeck from a couple of weeks back, I put in a customised URL for people who found the presentation on Slideshare, and wanted to read the blogpost which accompanied it on here - a lot more people see my slides than see this blog. The reason I used was just to make a short, memorable URL - I chose which is a lot easier to fit on a slide in large letters than! - but it also gives me the stats. So I know that 225 people clicked on the link in the slides, because that link didn't appear anywhere else.)

So going back to the email newsletter - if you're launching a resource or promoting an event, and you want to know how effective your email has been, use a customised URL to see how many people clicked your link. If half the people you email click on the link you've included, that's a pretty fantastic rate of return as these things go. Build on whatever formula you used and do it again! If only 5% click, then do things differently next time - perhaps change the subject line, or make the call to action more prominent, or email at a different time of the day or week.

Incidentally, another possibility allows is to compare effectiveness of promotional activities. So you have one URL for your new resource that you use in emails, one that you use on Facebook, and another you use on Twitter. Then you compare the stats for each, with the overall stats for the resource, and see which communication method is the best way to get people to use your stuff...

Should I care about email preview panes?

If your audience are young (University students, for example) then yes, this matters a little bit. According to ConvinceandConvert, 84% of 18-34 year olds use an email preview pane. I am 34 and I do this! I have a preview pane in both Outlook and Gmail for work, where I can - but not in Yahoo for my personal email, where I've never worked out how. I much prefer a preview.

This means these users will see the first few lines of the email (depending on how big they've set their pane) BEFORE they click to open. Worst-case scenario is they dislike what they see so much they never get as far as opening the email. The best-case scenario is they are enticed or inspired by the preview, and when they open the email they are fully engaged with its contents. So, as with so many media in the web 2.0 age, the important thing here is to hit the ground running. No long intros, no scene setting - just useful, headline information right at the top. It's using the journalism model, rather than the academic paper model - put your conclusions at the start.

Are there any useful email tools I should know about?

I think MailChimp looks great for non-profits. You'd probably need to use the paid-for version, but if email is an important part of your marketing strategy, and you can afford it, then MailChimp is worth it because of the level of control, and of impact measurement, it gives you.

I'm a big fan of Scribd (as a creator rather than a consumer - don't be put off by its homepage which is aimed at the latter!) - it takes PDFs and turns them into web documents. So if your email newsletter is a PDF, I cannot stress enough how people don't click on and open PDFs nearly as much as we'd hope they do, so put in a link to a Scribd version (or embed it in the email if that's possible with the tools you use). Not only does this make the newsletter more easily accessible, it allows it to be discovered on the web, and it gives you built-in usage statistics for how it much it's being read too.

Good Email Communication needs to be Timely, Targeted and (well) Titled


Email feels very old-school sometimes, and it's tempting to think it's no longer relevant. But actually for a lot of Libraries and other non-profits email remains an essential tool for good communication, and if you think about it it's easy to see why.

You have mass coverage (not EVERYONE uses email but a huge percentage do, and it's not a tribal medium like social media where people pick and choose to be on some platforms and not others); you have a captive audience (once they've given you permission to email them); the message goes directly to your audience; it waits for your audience until they're ready to see it (unlike asychronous media such as Twitter for example); and it's very easy for people to ACT on an email, by clicking a link within it.

Where Email falls down is in sharability (it's much less intuitive to share useful information contained within an email with one click, than it is to share information contained on a specific URL) and, like so many other forms of communication, over-saturation. We all get too many emails. They can easily become part of the White Noise.

Over the years I've read a ton of advice and guidance about emailing, and a lot of it is either over-complicated or related directly to chasing leads and converting sales and all sorts of other things we don't need to do in the non-profit sector. In fact, for me, it comes down to just three things, and, as it happens, they call begin with T: emails must be Targeted, Timely and Titled.

I wanted to experiment with Piktochart for work purposes, and I always feel you have to actually make something to completion with a tool to get a feel for it, so here's the Keys to Good Email Communication as a mini infographic:

Click to view the much larger Creative Commons version on Flickr

Click to view the much larger Creative Commons version on Flickr

These three things really do matter - TO ME. Every audience is different, so while I'd advise you try to work by the Three Ts, you may find your users respond differently to mine.

Certainly targeting is something which I find works very well for me - the response rate (people doing the things I'm asking them to in the email) increases massively if I subdivide my audience into smaller groups and customise the content somewhat. The stat above relates to the MoreBooks campaign at York, mentioned int the White Noise presentation (slides 47 - 52, as displayed here).

The title is so important - it makes the difference Open and Delete Unread on so many occasions (think about your own policy of reading emails from organisations). The stat there comes from convinceandconvert.

In the past I didn't think being Timely mattered - the idea of sending an email at 3pm because that's the 'best' time to send it seemed mildly absurd to me. But I've changed my views on this - what is beyond doubt is that people are more likely to engage with an email if it comes with some distance either side of it, than they are if it comes with 10 other emails at the same time. You don't want to be part of a virtual pile, you want undivided attention. 3pm being the best time to send is a stat you hear everywhere, but in this particular case I got it from the sherpablog.

There's another dimension to being Timely, around when to send emails in general (rather than the specific time of day), which will be covered in part 2 of this post later in the week.

When I was promoting LISNPN, the New Professionals Network (check out their ace new site, by the way) I kept stats on which promotional avenues resulted in the most people signing up for the site. Email won every time. Articles in the professional press, newsletters, face to face presentations - these all helped, but ultimately people need to CLICK on something right away after they hear about it, or most of them will soon forget it entirely.

Email allows you to put in a call to action which people can heed there and then.


Twitter Analytics is now free for all: so what can libraries get out of it?


Twitter stats packages are sort of fascinating but also not. I look at a fair few because I need to be able to talk about them in social media workshops: what tends to happen is I put my username in, go 'ooooh that's interesting!' a few times, but then never actually go back and check the analysis on a second occasion.

As individuals we don't really need Twitter stats apps (unless you take Twitter very seriously) but as organisations they can be genuinely useful. They can help us understand our network, show us what works (so we can build on it) and what doesn't (so we can phase it out).

For an analysis package to be useful to an organisation it really needs three qualities:

  1. It must give you information you can ACT on. There are a million stats apps out there, but if they don't tell you anything which you can use to inform better practice for your twitter account, then they don't really have any value.
  2. It must NOT tweet things about that information on your behalf. Some apps tell you useful things - but they tell the rest of the world those useful things too. I'm dubious about this at the best of times (for me an auto-tweet saying "This week on Twitter: X follows / unfollows, Y ReTweets and Z total reach!" either looks a bit awkward if X, Y and Z are small numbers, and a bit show-boaty if they're large) but I really don't think organisational accounts should have anything tweeted on their behalf.
  3. It ideally needs to be free. Some things are worth paying for but realistically it's hard to get the people who control the purse-strings in libraries to shell-out for a Twitter stats annual subscription...

Thankfully the official Twitter Analytics, newly available for all, meets all three of those criteria. If you just tweet as yourself, sign in to and have a look a round at the things worth noting; it's interesting to see how few of your followers actually see your tweets, for example.

If you tweet as an organisation or group, Analytics is definitely worth your time. But it's quite overwhelming at first as there's a LOT of information there - so here's a guide to what to look out for.

Twitter Analytics: What You Can Learn, and What You Might Do

We'll look at the two main tabs in turn.

The Tweets Tab is potentially the most useful thing the tool offers, because it deals with follower engagement, which is the most important metric (much more so than number of followers). It shows you how many people see your tweets - not that many; only just over 10% of my followers see each of mine, on average - and how much engagement you're getting over time in terms of people replying, RT'ing, and so on.

So, dissecting the screen (I'm using my own account as an example as I don't run my Library's account anymore, but as I say the notes and advice are aimed at organisations using Twitter) one area at a time:

Tweet Impressions

'Impressions' basically means views. So in other words, the figures aren't the total number of people who've seen your tweets, they're the total number of times the tweets have been seen.

Things to note here are the spike on August 14th, and the big drops at weekends.

Things to note here are the spike on August 14th, and the big drops at weekends.

What can you learn? Most days your tweets will have a similar number of impressions – some days that’ll be much higher. Why was it higher that day? Was it simply that someone with a huge amount of followers RT’d you? Or was it that you posted a particular type of content which struck a chord with people?

Clearly there are far fewer impressions at the weekend – is it worth scheduling some tweets to maintain a more consistent level of service?

The overall number of impressions is only really meaningful if you know how many times you tweeted - if you tweet 15% more and get 15% more impressions, then clearly you're maintaining the status quo rather than having a particularly successful month. Twitter Analytics doesn't (currently) give you your tweets totals, so use an app like SumAll to find that out, and cross-reference the two.

What might you do? Go back and look at your tweets from your most successful day, find out what you did differently, and aim to repeat and build on it. Also if the overall impressions for the month are up significantly on the month before, identify why and try and do more of the same. If you feel it's worth scheduling tweets to cover the weekend, a social media dashboard like Hootsuite can do this for you.


This shows you the main actions people have taken based on your tweets over the last month, and compares it with the previous month.

This is useful for measuring campaigns

This is useful for measuring campaigns

Ultimately if you're using social media for communication and marketing, you want people to take actions, it's vital.

1000 Facebook friends who act and feel the same regarding the Library as they did before they joined your Facebook network, are of far less value than just 50 Facebook friends who actually modify their behaviour as a result of becoming part of your network. They might use the Library more, for example, or tell their friends about how great it is, because they're connected with you on social media. So, this part of the screen is really worth your attention.

What you can learn: Although looking at these graphs and seeing if you're doing better or worse than the month before is interesting in itself, I think the real value of this metric is to measure a campaign. It can tell you whether your specific audience responds well, or indifferently, to certain types of content and output.

For example, if you're spending a month promoting a new electronic resource at a business library, or inducting freshers at an academic library, or crowd-sourcing tips and advice at a public library, you can see how much engagement this results in compared with your normal patterns of tweeting.

What you might do: If the campaign is successful, run similar things again. Over time you should build up a picture of what your network likes and what it doesn't, which you can use as a platform to develop a more engaging social media presence. If I was an organisation I'd look at the graph on the left and think, okay, replies and favourites were up significantly, which is good, but RTs and link-clicks more than doubled - so what did I do to cause that? Whatever it was it's worth trying to repeat in future - if people are clicking links, preferably through to other content of yours such as your Library website, then social media is doing its job fantastically well for your organsiation.

The other thing this section, and indeed the Followers graph described below and the whole analytics package generally, is *reporting*. It's so great to be able to have figures to hand when reporting on your library's social media programmes, or justifying putting time into it, or looking to expand. Instead of telling your boss 'We've got some great engagement, people really seem to like our twitter account' you're able to say things like 'In the last 6 months our network has grown by 40%, and on average we get over 1,000 interactions on the platform per month - equivalent to a fairly busy Enquiries Desk in the physical Library'. Or whatever you want to say.

You can use the statistics to tell meaningful stories.

Tweet by Tweet impressions and engagements

I wish the columns of this one were sortable, because then you'd be able to instantly identify specific tweets which resulted in the most actions being taken. As it is you can glance down the list and see your most recent tweets and how they've been received - Impressions is how many people saw the tweet, Engagements is how many people interacted with it (not just RTs, replies and favourites, but clicking on hashtags, images, your username etc), and the Engagement Rate is the latter divided by the former.

The first number is Impressions, the second is Engagements, the third is Engagement Rate

The first number is Impressions, the second is Engagements, the third is Engagement Rate

What you can learn: Well the screengrab above appears to show that my network is a lot more interested in clicking on a link to Buzzfeed list of 'Medieval Beasts That Cannot Even Handle It Right Now' then they are in clicking on a link to a Wordpress guide! Which is entirely fair enough. Essentially this metric gives you an insight into what people react to. The engament rate is absolutely key to understanding what your network values - it could be that a tweet has 50,000 impressions if it gets ReTweeted by Stephen Fry, for example, which would distort the number of engagements to a massive figure. But it's the engagement divided by the impressions that gives you a true picture of what people care about, rather than just how many people happened to see it. Does that make sense?

What you might do: It's the same as above - identify what your audience responds to and do it more, basically. It works the other way too - it's not in the screenshot above but a little further down in my stats I saw a tweet that only got 93 impressions. This is because I tweeted at 5:10pm, and the largest percentage of my followers are from the UK, and everyone is either winding down or on the way home by then. So don't tweet anything important during commuting time. But you knew all that already.

Individual Tweet Analysis

An extension of the tweet-by-tweet covered above, this allows you to really drill down and see EXACTLY how people responded to each tweet.

People would have needed to click 'Detail expands' to see the picture properly.

People would have needed to click 'Detail expands' to see the picture properly.

What you can learn: This shows you exactly what people DO when your tweet appears in their timeline, either because they follow you or because they follow someone who ReTweeted you. The 'Follows' stat is interesting - it's not been possible before to see so explicitly when a specific tweet causes someone to take the plunge and hit the follow button, nor how many people are emailing your tweets to non-twitter users.

What you might do: Honestly I think you'd need to be in a full-time Comms role to get any real use out of this level of detail - there's simply too many tweets to spend time analysing each one. One thing I do find interesting is the number of people clicking links, even in quite popular tweets that get a lot of RTs - it's relatively low as a percentage.

Something I've been trying to do since restarting this blog after a hiatus for much of 2014 is to include an image in the tweet linking to my post, which tells as much of the story of that post as possible. This means people don't HAVE to click the link to get the (hopefully!) useful piece of information. So my tweet about the BuzzFeed Libraries had the actual BuzzFeed mock-up added as an image to the tweet (not a good example of useful information, admittedly!), and my tweet about revoking access to twitter apps you don't need had the little poster that I'd made used in the same way. (I also then put these in the blogposts themselves, as not everyone finds my blog via Twitter.)

If you use Twitter Cards (more on this another time) they seem to automatically take the image from the blogpost and use it in the tweet, which I've only discovered recently - so in the example above, I've just added a link to my post in the tweet, and the Twitter Card has put in the main image from the post - again, meaning people can get the info there and then without having to leave Twitter and read it on here.

The Followers Tab

This is slightly less important but still useful. It shows you how your followership changes over time, and gives you a bit of info about demographics. Everything on this tab can fit into one screenshot:

I can highly recommend NOT using Internet Explorer to view this page, as it bafflingly uses as sort of 'Ancient Manuscript' font which makes the figures completely unreadable...

I can highly recommend NOT using Internet Explorer to view this page, as it bafflingly uses as sort of 'Ancient Manuscript' font which makes the figures completely unreadable...

What you can you learn: Perhaps the most useful aspect of this would be to see weeks or months where your number of followers changes dramatically. I can't stress enough how I don't think number of followers is a metric you should worry too much about (level of engagement is worth so much more) - but generally when I've run campaigns on our Library Twitter account, concerted efforts to engage the network, word has spread and the number of followers has gone up more than it would normally, and that is a good thing. (My own graph above is pretty regular so doesn't really tell you anything, except I obviously annoyed some people in July 2013 because it went down!) So if there's a drop, a leveling out, or a spike, you can look back at your tweets from the period and try and identity the cause.

If anyone can think of a use for the Interests part of the screen then please let me know in the comments - I'm stuck for how we could meaningfully use this. Gender is potentially interesting - if your Library is attracting an unusually large amount of one gender versus another, you could seek to address that. Your followers also follow is interesting in passing - keep in mind that a larger proportion of your network will view conversations between you and the people who feature highly in this list, for reasons discussed in last week's post. See also the UPDATE section at the bottom of the post for a great idea (from Imperial) on how to use this section.

Location is definitely worth noting, for reasons of time-zone. I have around 1500 followers from North America, so realistically anything I tweet before lunchtime is not going to reach them.

What you might do: The most obvious thing is to identify what went right (or wrong) when your number of followers changed dramatically, and either seek to emulate it or stop doing it accordingly. The other thing you can do is adapt when you tweet to suit a global audience - either by saving key information until, for example, 3pm UK time if you're a UK tweeter, so you get the most audience for it (Tweriod can help with this, it tells you when your followers are online), or by scheduling tweets for late night if that suits your overseas followers.

The Twitter Cards Tab I'm struggling to make much sense of at first glance. I do use Twitter Cards and I'm going to write a post about them at some point, so will revisit it then.

One final piece of advice - most of the info in Analytics is displayed on a month by month basis - so take print screens! To build up a picture over time you need to be able to compare the data. So put a reminder in your calendar for the first of each month: Screengrab My Twitter Stats.

That's a lot of information, has anyone made it to the end..? If so what do you think, is (are) Twitter Analytics potentially useful to you?

UPDATE FOR ACADEMIC LIBRARIES: I really like this idea from Imperial Library:

So basically by looking at how many of your followers ALSO follow your Student's Union, or your overall University's Twitter account, you can see approximately how much of your network is actually your target audience. Of course there's lots of good reasons for including, for example, other libraries and librarians as part of your target audience - but your PRIMARY group are people who use your Library, and that will not be everyone who follows you on Twitter. A proviso is that there will of course be students and staff who follow you and not the overall University account, but still it's a useful exercise.

Digital Scholarship Training at @UniofYork: Facts and Figures


Andy Priestner has written about the importance of writing reports, even if no one asks you to, to showcase the value of what the Library is doing. is not enough just to collate this data and wait to be asked for it. It is far better to ensure that the people who need to know this stuff are informed, at least once a year, of these top level statistics, before they ask for them: a pre-emptive strike if you like…
— Andy Priestner in Business School Libraries in the 21st Century, edited by Tim Wales

(You can read a larger excerpt from his chapter here.)

With that in mind, a while ago I produced an internal report on the Digital Scholarship Training I've run at York (and various exciting things happened as a result of doing this) - which I've now expanded into an external version, which includes the Google Apps for Education training run by my colleagues.

My message to you is that if you have any expertise in the area of digital scholarship, scholarly comms, Web 2.0 in HE etc, find a way to offer it to your academic community! As I've mentioned before, we've found they're ready for it, and excited about the opportunities.

Below is a tweaked version of the report to include the message in the paragraph above - the original version (which can be found on our Library slideshare page) is aimed at York staff and asks them to get in touch for information about upcoming events. Putting it on our Slideshare page will hopefully increase the profile of something very positive for the Library and IT - we've both found that there's been some reputational gain from helping people out with things they really value right now, rather than solely focusing on what we've always done. We've also both found that word is starting to spread and we're becoming go-to people within the University when help or advice is required in these areas, which is excellent.

There's more about the nature of the training itself in this blog post on the Networked Researcher suite of workshops, and this later post about how the training is shifting slightly.

Ever wondered why people put a dot at the start of their tweets?


It's for a good reason.

The most common Twitter mistake...

The most common Twitter mistake...

Years ago I wrote a thing on TinyWrite (which sadly doesn't exist anymore) about using a character at the start of a tweet to ensure everyone sees it - when that's appropriate. Later I saw the slide-deck below, on the same subject.

I saw those slides again today, and I feel the same way about the presentation now as I did when it first came out - it is very good (and very popular), but it is also a 44-slide way of making what is quite a simple point! So I made the image above, because it occurred to me that a Venn Diagram could explain it fairly succinctly... I LOVE Venn Diagrams. Any excuse to use one. (Here's my favourite one ever.)

Anyhow here's the deck for a fuller explanation:

You see this problem on Twitter all the time, still. Even experienced Twitter users fluent in everything else on the platform make the error. The reason this matters is that sometimes you want all of your followers to see a tweet with, as I say, sharing content and live-tweeting events being the two main examples. Fairly often people will tweet a link to one of my blog posts with @ned_potter at the start of the tweet - so basically only people following both the tweeter and me will see that tweet, and my followers may already have seen it when I tweeted it anyway...

So it is a basic part of the way Twitter works - Twitter filters conversations so you only see those between people you follow, otherwise it would be completely unusable and overwhelming. (Incidentally, one of the side effects of this system is sometimes you can be tweeting as an organisation, and having a dispute with a user, and it feels like the whole world can see your conversation, which is embarrassing. In actual fact, only people who follow both you and the user will see it, so it's not nearly as problematic as it feels at the time...)

So if you want all your followers to see a tweet, make sure there's a character of some kind before an @username. It's not the end of the world if people get this wrong - but you may as well get it right!

Edit: A brief follow up on over-sharing via the dot

As part of the conversation that followed me tweeting about this post earlier, Matt Shaw pointed this out:

If you click on the date in that tweet you'll see all the tweets which followed in reply - but essentially it comes down to some people overusing the dot to ensure everyone sees their tweets. There are three main reasons people use the dot apart from the live-tweeting and post-sharing described above.

  1. Because someone asks a question to which the answer has value to everyone (this is, in my view, completely acceptable - as long as you're a good judge of what constitutes value to everyone, and I'm not always confident I am a good judge of that...)
  2. Because your tweet is so hilarious / insightful / clever that everyone simply must see it (this is sometimes okay, I am guilty of doing it on occasion, but when people do it all the time it makes me wince)
  3. Because they want everyone to see the praise they're responding to (this one I have the most problem with - you see people responding to thanks for their talk, as in this example from Chuck G in an article raging against the dot. You also see people saying thank you for people nominating them for a #FollowFriday in this fashion. Why do people do this? Or worse still, ReTweet their FollowFriday nominations?! Everyone who sees the tweet already follows them! Desist!)

So, use the dot with caution! Use it to share blog posts and presentations from other Twitter users - or better still, put a word in there to make it a proper sentence. And as Chuck says, if you're tweeting a conference lead with the hashtag (that's a far better solution than my example in the image at the top of this post). But otherwise, think carefully.

ALL THAT SAID, as I've mentioned before, my number 1 piece of advice to tweeters is to ignore advice to tweeters - unless you're tweeting as an organisation, just do it how you want to...