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December 2012
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February 2013

How You Use Twitter Favourites

Twitter favourites
I promised I'd share the results of the quick poll on how you use Twitter favourites so here they are (click image to enlarge). A clear preference (61%) it seems for people using it for bookmarking/read-it-later, with a minority (30%) doing that and also using it to also give a Twitter 'Like' to something, but very few (7%) doing just the latter. There were some interesting comments (both here and on Twitter) about how people use them in their reading/sharing routines, including using IFTT to funnel favourited content through to Pocket or Instapaper which makes sense. Thanks everyone for voting and contributing.

How Do You Use Twitter Favourites?

Twitter favourites
I have a question. SAI recently featured the graph above in their 'Chart Of The Day' feature showing the way in which favouriting of Tweets has taken off since interactions were included in the '@' section and incorporated under the 'Discover' tab. Since this had made favouriting more of a public thing, they suggest that the activity has quickly developed into a kind of Twitter 'fist-bump', or their answer to Facebook's or Instagram's 'Like'. 

Since the changes I've found myself using Twitter favourites a lot more and if the number of people favouriting my own tweets is anything to go by, so have many others. Except I don't use it in the way that SAI suggest. I use it instead to bookmark tweets in situations where I think it looks interesting but don't have time now to click through and read the piece that is being shared (often when I'm on the move or have poor connection). So for me, it's more akin to Instapaper functionality than Facebook. My hunch is that this is a very common behaviour but I'm genuinely curious to understand if I'm right or wrong in thinking that. So I thought I'd do a quick poll to find out. I'd really appreciate your view (if there is a different way in which you use the functionality, please tick 'other' and feel free to explain more in the comments) and will of-course share the results. So my question is: how do you use Twitter favourites?



A few things about slowness.

A while back Matt Steel wrote a powerful post about how easy it is, in the rush of life, to lose perspective and forget that when we slow down, priorities often become clearer:

"The story I told myself was that slowness and emptiness were the same thing. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve found recently that when the time is used well, slowness can actually be one of the most profound sources of abundance."

Seth Godin writes about how easy it is, in an age of real-time information, unlimited digital shelf space, and sharp spikes of attention, to forget that we are also living in the golden age of 'Slow Media'. Media and content where the goal isn't always to get it out there quicker (or make it noisier) than everyone else, but to simply say something worth saying and do it in a way that's worth waiting for:

"It might not be obvious media, or easy to understand media, or easily digested media, but that's okay, because slow media is not mass media. Slow media is not for the distracted masses, it's for the focused few."

Antony Mayfield writes about working fast and slow, and the temptation to constantly work as fast as possible through ever-expanding to-do lists and sometimes missing the benefits that might come from slower activities:

"Reading and reflection – and blogging, for me – are slower modes. They aren’t execution, though. People engaged in reading and reflection look more leisurely than industrious. It feels hard to give time to these slow activities – we want to feel the heartening rush of momentum and be seen to be in the process of moving forward. It feels like progress. Even if it is slightly mindless, lacking in insights and depth that would have been added by spending time working slowly."

I'm not really big on new year resolutions but one of the things I promised myself that I'd try and do for last year was to create a bit more space. Whilst I worked pretty hard at it, I have to say that I found it tougher than expected and that, on balance, I think I was less than successful. So it continues to be an objective of mine. And it's good to be reminded of how important being slow, as well as being fast, really is.

Photo Credit: slimmer_jimmer via Compfight cc

How Stuff Spreads

Irn bru

Phil at Blonde and Fran at Face Group have created a visualisation of the spread of a piece of video content from their client IRN BRU that tells a fascinating story of how it was shared on Twitter and clocked up a million views over four weeks. The tracking revealed three key sharing dynamics: a few high influence accounts that kick-started the initial 100,000 views in the first 24 hours, followed by sharing amongst lots of small, connected groups that took it from 100,000 to 650,000, and then another 300,000 views prompted by broadcast media and accompanying isolated mentions.

Their conclusions make a lot of sense: It helps if you have awesome content; influencer theory is useful but only up to a point; lots of small networks are more important than a few individuals with lots of followers; social and broadcast channels play complementary roles. Every case will no doubt have its own differences and subtleties but this neatly shows the limitations of oversimplified thinking about 'influencers' and considering vertical channels in isolation.

There's something else interesting about it as well. Conventional campaigning wisdom sees heavy spend front loaded and designed to generate high awareness, reach or impact in the first days of a campaign. This IRN BRU activity started with just one person being given the link. It reminded me of the way in which The XX launched Coexist by sharing a link (to a site where you could stream it before its official release) with a single fan. That ended up with fan-driven campaigns on Reddit and the site crashing from the millions of streams.

Mark Earls and John Willshire make the point in their excellent Future Of Advertising deck that we need to develop a far better understanding of how stuff spreads through populations. So work like this is, I think, fascinating.


If You’re Not Doing Some Things That are Crazy, Then You’re Doing the Wrong Things.

So says Larry Page. There's been a few interviews published with him of late but this Wired one by Steven Levy is one of the best. Lots to take out but I really liked his answer to a question about ambition and big bets:

"I worry that something has gone seriously wrong with the way we run companies. If you read the media coverage of our company, or of the technology industry in general, it’s always about the competition. The stories are written as if they are covering a sporting event. But it’s hard to find actual examples of really amazing things that happened solely due to competition. How exciting is it to come to work if the best you can do is trounce some other company that does roughly the same thing? That’s why most companies decay slowly over time. They tend to do approximately what they did before, with a few minor changes. It’s natural for people to want to work on things that they know aren’t going to fail. But incremental improvement is guaranteed to be obsolete over time. Especially in technology, where you know there’s going to be non-incremental change."

In an era driven by efficiencies, building in room for the big 'moon shots' isn't easy but that non-incremental change he talks about is surely true of not just the technology industry, but of every industry that technology is changing, impacting, or disrupting. Which is a rapidly increasing number.