Twitter Users Talk About Themselves, Other Guys

At this point, most everyone may know what Twitter is, but who’s using it, what they’re saying and who they’re saying it to are increasingly research fodder.

Lexicographers at Oxford University Press released findings today, based on 1.5 million tweets from January to April, showing that the average message was 15 words, with an average of 10.69 words per sentence and 1.4 sentences per tweet. Ten percent of tweets contain a question, says Oxford, publisher of the Oxford dictionary and other reference works.

“To get a full picture of the English language, compilers of current dictionaries need to incorporate all forms of communication into their research,” Judy Pearsall, Oxford’s senior publishing manager for English dictionaries, said in a statement. “A tweet is a message to the world, but it’s a short one: with just 140 characters to play with, we’re seeing different and sometimes very creative uses of language.”

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