Here’s an exercise for you: Open up TweetDeck or another Twitter client that uses the streaming API. Wait f0r the top of the hour. Then watch closely as your timeline explodes with tweets.
It’s a problem that hasn’t been written about much: Folks who schedule their tweets choose to (or have to, depending on software) schedule those tweets at certain points of the hour. For instance, HootSuite only allows someone to schedule tweets during 5-minute intervals starting at the bottom of each hour.
And, of course, when everyone is tweeting at once, it’s less likely that users will see your tweet. This is why you should never tweet at the :00, :15, :30 or :45 of the hour. And, if possible, avoid tweeting at :05, :10, :20, :25, :35, :40, :50 and :55 as well. Silly as it may sound, your message will more likely be seen if you tweet at 8:51 instead of 8:50. When tweeting for my day job, I have found that I almost always get a better response when I tweet at an “off” time.
Twitter is an incredibly noisy environment to work in. Many accounts are tweeting many messages that are competing for many eyes. So, it is wise to tweet when the noise temporarily subsides.
And, a quick word about scheduling tweets: If you must, do it carefully! If news breaks and you have tweets scheduled, delete those tweets immediately. And, of course, try scheduling those tweets at a time when no one else is.
Of course, if news breaks, tweet whenever you want. If you’re first to something on Twitter, your tweet will certainly travel great distances, regardless of what time you sent it at!