flowing motion

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter

Ergonomics

Ergonomics – the efficiency of work.  Can we design work and procedures that are useable? Or somehow does the way we do things create more work, wasted steps, irritation, boredom or fatigue.

Clearly some basic ergonomics is a basic requirement for every manager and geek in this computer world of ours.

Hootsuite

I use Hootsuite as my Twitter interface.  I like the white layout.  I like my stream in three columns – combined, mentions and dm’s.  I like the button to shorten urls. I like the stats.

Over complicating upgrade

But they upgraded recently.  Big fail in my opinion.  We now have to select a social network for our message.  I know they are trying to increase functionality (getting greedy?).  The trouble is they left the send button next to the status update.

So we type a message, press send and go on to the next task.  Hours later we find an error message saying choose a network.  Blah.  Why can’t you remember.  Why can’t I have a default?

Solve a problem by thinking about what users do

This problem could be solved by moving the send button to the right of the social network choice.

This problem could have been avoided by making changes slowly and waiting for feedback to pick up what does and doesn’t work.

Ruin a good design

This overcomplication has changed a good service into a failing service.

For people looking for an Ergonomics 101 project: do an A B test with the button in two places.  Then sell  the results!

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So President Obama has never used Twitter?

Last week, President Obama told Chinese students that he had never used Twitter. Shock! Who sent all those tweets under his name?

I tweet

I am a Tweeter. I enjoy tweeting because I work alone and in a small town. Twitter keeps me in touch with the world beyond my daily existence. It is also a handy diary. I often go back to me tweets to look up something that turned out to be more important than I thought at the time.

But I don’t think everyone must tweet

But I don’t think everyone should tweet just because tweeting is there. I’ve find it strange for example if a surgeon was tweeting. I hope surgeons are concentrating. To tweet about a patient who is unconscious could hardly be done with their consent!

Some people should not tweet, particularly when they are working

I don’t want pilots tweeting while they land a plane. And as a university lecturer, I wouldn’t tweet details about the quality of exam scripts – not because they are private – but because announcing the results is the prerogative of the Registrar. Only the official registry can announce a result.

I don’t expect a President to tweet

Here in lies why President Obama shouldn’t tweet. We voted for Obama, true (or rather Americans did). But we didn’t vote for Obama to do whatever he wants whenever he wants.

We voted him to work within a system and when we voted we assumed that he would be working within a system.

Just as I might ask a pilot to fly a plane, I haven’t asked him to fly any plane. This is a package – you and that plane. Obama and a set of institutions. He becomes part of the institution and it is the institution that is tweeting just as it is the “plane” talking to airtraffic control.

Public office changes the rules

Public office cramps our style! When we accept public office, as President, surgeon, pilot or university lecturer, then we accept that our behaviour is no longer private. And we comport ourselves accordingly. We will say no more on Twitter than we would in the pub. And people are more interested in what our institution does then us personally, it is better not to tweet. Let there be an official tweeter!

Let official tweeters work!

Of course, that means people in high office are not part of the river of information that is available to me and you. Let the official tweeters brief them then! Just as they do about what is being said in newspapers and on the streets.

It is no biggie. But not understanding our institutional role is a biggie. We shouldn’t be in the job if we don’t understand the constraints on our personal lives.

Authenticity means me & my job

And sometimes that means I will be silent

Internet reciprocity and local business

Tell me, what is my obligation to help a local business who won’t help anyone else? Or if I am at work, what is my obligation to help a colleague who won’t help anyone else.

Reciprocity norms under scarcity and abundance

My instincts are all wrong.  I come from a country where just about everything is in short supply.

  • We don’t throw away food. Minimally, it will be boiled up in the dog’s food or made into compost.
  • We don’t throw way packaging. It is reused for something else.
  • We don’t even send spam because people pay for incoming mail. They’ll block us in an instant.

Our instincts are never to waste and always to help. Help first. Ask questions later.

In a land of abundance, what is the right response?

Let’s take a local shop who is new to Twitter

  • We can help them out by following.
  • We can help them out by RT.
  • We can help them out by replying and starting a conversation.
  • We can help them out by DM’s useful information.

But of course we cannot DM them if they don’t follow us. And I have to ask, why do I follow them, if they don’t follow me?

What should be my response?

Should we follow everyone who follows us?

I don’t follow everyone who follows me on Twitter.

Lots of people follow me on Twitter. I quickly learned most of them are bots.

When they speak to me, if they speak to me, I check them out.

If they behave “botishly”, I call them out.

If they reply, I check them out, and I help them. I put some time into helping them. I go out of my way to help them.

The instincts of living with scarcity. Always help a stranger.

Maybe I should be following other people more diligently?

I should probably make an effort to follow people who follow me.

The thing is I didn’t get on to Twitter to sell anything. I got on to Twitter to keep in touch with people. I quickly connect with anyone that I meetup with or who might have some common interest with me ~ like local shops.

Well, I suppose I should check my followers to see who is who. Or they could reply to me about something. After all I chatter a lot.

I think I am confused here. I am certainly annoyed that local shops broadcast and don’t listen back.

Have I answered my own question? What is my obligation to local businesses?

In a land of abundance, should I look after the people around me? I am not sure I should. There is another shop down the road.

Get real folks. We aren’t going to carry your baggage for you ~ not on this road ~ lands of abundance require economic reciprocity ~ you help me, I help you, you help me ~

If I am not sufficiently important to you for you to be sociable ~ then you will have to pay me for my time ~ that’s how it works.

But my instincts from the land of scarcity is that I might have to put up with your bad behaviour and to cajole you out of it? Do I? Do I hurt myself by not troubling myself to hurt you?

What if I just sit and watch you struggle? What if I just behave like one of those characters in sitcoms that sits on the sidelines and makes useless comments in the manner of a court jester?

So follow me back and talk to me!

And maybe I should check my follower list more carefully!  Or perhaps it is that those who set out to sell don’t listen. Maybe selling leads to an instinct not to reciprocate.

Someone straighten me out please!

This is a long story and a tame story in many respects, read on . . .

I am a psychologist. Any one who has majored in psychology knows that we are trained at university and college to be distant from our clients. We are even trained to call people “subjects” – or we were in my day.

We are also trained to see ourselves as people who have facts – to see ourselves as right, because we know the truth.

This is how we demonstrate to ourselves and our peers (other people trained like us) that we are right. We predict what will happen, and after what was supposed to have happened happens, we check whether we were right, preferably by counting something. Not all bad, but wait.

Positive psychology often continues this tradition. Positive or appreciative management goes further. The critical idea is one of generativity – that we engage with other people without defining our objective. So we cannot say what will happen, and because we cannot say what will happen, we cannot check whether we are right. That has psychologists of my generation heading for the hills! And that is a pity, because positive psychology has something to say.

Anyway, that is the back story – psychologists had to learn a way of thinking at college. We learnt it, and learnt it well. Now we encounter a new way of thinking, we find it hard – disorienting actually. Giddy making. It is difficult to follow what is good about appreciative management when it clashes so fundamentally with the way we learned to think early in our careers.

How 2.0 helped me

My task. I undertook to make a presentation on the new psychology to psychologists. Using the principle of going from the familiar to the unfamiliar, I wanted to keep in the step of checking results and I needed a reference or idea to fill the hole.

How did I do it? Fairly predictably, going to Google and Google Scholar didn’t help. What I did was check through my del.icio.us bookmarks and see what who had similar interests to me. And I found my paper on the evaluation of generative methodologies! Bookmarked by one other person! Amazing. In half-and-hour to an hour, using what I saved on del.icio.us for earlier projects, I found exactly the rare article I needed!

How was this different from the way I did things before? Wasn’t that what we have always done? Searched around libraries until we found something? Ah, I didn’t search around the Library. I searched around people I didn’t know and who don’t go to the same conferences and meetings as me. Not only did someone I not know help me, they helped me in good faith, that I would help the next person and the next person, etc. This is the O’Reilly principle that web 2.0 systems get better the more we use them.

So what did I need to do that I didn’t need to do before?

  1. I must join in with a view to finding like-minded people rather than experts.
  2. I must put a trail of my activity out there. The end of the rainbow is where my trail intersects with the trail of someone else – not lots of people – one person. At the intersection is the person who interests me – and it is very likely that I interest them.

Could I have been more 2.0?

Yes. I could have engaged and reciprocated! I could have written to the author, thanked him and allowed him to benefit from my project.

Sorry! I was still in 1.0!

It’s so cool to see all the pictures in one place.  No wonder I feel happy!

Get your twitter mosaic here.

Speedometer in Ford Mondeo ST220 (MK3) (highli...
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The 2nd rule 0f the 10 Sun Tzu rules of the Networked World

Make our messages as small as possible.

An example

Once again, this rule is intimidating at first, but we can be assured that if pundits are telling us to do something, then they already know how to do it. So for an example, have a look at the link to BNET that I posted yesterday morning to a handy resource for Prospect Qualification.

Note well how they have worked out a simple decision tree and each step is small enough to do.

The General Idea

This is not a new idea at all. We often break complex jobs into small steps.

We are not, however, making information chunks small for the sake of it.  If we do, we are in danger of disemboding information and rendering it unintelligible.

But feed forward and feedback must come in ‘glanceable’ amounts – like the speedometer on our car. The information must arrive at exactly the point that we need it (not at exactly the point Head Office feels like sending it!)

Our Overall Goal

To think in networked terms, I want to reach everyone one of my fans and I want to reach potential fans – the friends of my friends.

So I have to think like Twitter.   Not only do I keep my messages under 140 chars, I allow for the RT and keep them even shorter!  After all, they are 5 times more likely to be read when they come from a close friend.

The technicalities are easy, it is the substance that counts.

The technicalities can be learned quickly enough. What is harder to work out is when and where people need information.

And the viral potential of the message

Hairdressers are often very good at txting reminders for appointments.

What we need too are messages that will go to the “end of the line.” What are we likely to retweet because we want other people to know that information too?

My local deli for example, could tweet its specials to customers who have requested tweets. That makes it easy for me to retweet and invite someone to lunch.

Hack for the 2nd rule

For each customer group that we have identified in 1a and judged to be a qualified prospect in 1b, we can ask:

  • What information do they need from us to organize themselves with people around them?
  • What is their purpose when they use my message?

Isn’t that why we love resources so much?  They become a lego block in a project of our own.

Recap of the 2nd rule

So we need to go back to the scenarios for defining our fans in 1a and think again.  Do we know what our potential customer is trying to achieve?

When we do, communicating is ever so easy.

(And it is so hard, when we try to jump steps.  Find time this weekend to work on your scenarios!  You can do them in the shower, in a walk in the woods, while waiting for your daughter to finish ballet class!).

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Facebook is “who knows who” in London?

If you want to find someone in the UK, go to Facebook.  1/3 of the country is there and more than 1/2 of our internet users are there.   3/4 of Londoners are there.

Because so many Londoners are on Facebook, it is also London party.  Just over a quarter people in the UK live in or close to London, but nearly half of Facebook members are Londoners

Almost everyone who uses Twitter is on Facebook.  Its easier to say that 1 out of 7 Twitter users do not use Facebook.

But as 6 out of 7 of their Twitter friends will be on Facebook, they are well connected!

The question is whether you can find the other 2/3 of UK residents through your Facebook network.  It would be work a try, wouldn’t it?  Can you find and meet anyone of the 61 million people beginning with your Facebook network?

The picture

Twitter & Facebook Users in UK

Twitter & Facebook Users in Users

The numbers

I made the diagram using the online chart maker, Chartle, using the numbers below, some of which I got from Google Adplanner on 2 August 2009 and some of which I got from Wolfram Alpha.

1.  People in the UK : 60.8 million
2.  Internet users in UK : 40 million (66%) (2006 – probably higher now)
3.  People in the work force before the credit crunch:  29 million (almost 50%)
4.  Young people 13-16, 16-18 and 18-24 who are not in the workforce but who are active internet users: Unknown (do you know?)
5.  Retired people who are not in the workforce but who are active internet users : Unknown (do you know?)
6.  People in the London : 7 million  (about 13.5% of  UK residents)
7.  People in the wider London metropolitan area : 13 million (about 27% of UK residents)
8.  People who use Facebook in UK : 22 million ( about 35% of UK residents and 55% of UK internet users)
9.  People who use Facebook in the wider London metropolitan area: 10 million (77% of residents, 25% of UK internet users, 17% of UK residents, 45% of Facebook users)
10.  People who use Twitter in UK: 3.5 million (6% of UK residents and 8% of UK internet users)
11.  People who use Twitter and Facebook in UK: 2.9 million (7 % of UK internet users, 13% of Facebook users and 83% of Twitter users)
12.  People who use Twitter and not Facebook in UK:  0.6 million (17% of Twitter users and 1.5% of UK internet users)
13.  People who use Twitter in the wider London metropolitan area:  1.8 million (18% of London internet users)
14.  People who use Twitter and Facebook in the wider London metropolitan area : 1.5 million (15% of London Facebook users)
15.  People who use Twitter and not Facebook in the London metropolitan area : 0.3 million (3% of London internet users)
16.  People from outside London who use Twitter and Facebook: 1.4 million (12% of Facebook users)
17.  People from outside London who use Twitter and not Facebook: 0.3 million (difficult to know the percentages)

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