Tag Archives: Social Networking

What No One is Saying About the New Twitter.

The new release of Twitter has, predictably, put the Web in an uproar. The Internet pundits have been focused on the new UI, with many rehashing two tired themes which amount to who moved my cheese, and utterly fail to grasp the bigger picture, which is a strategic shift in the product itself.

Twitter has shifted to a product posture that puts consumption ahead of production. With this release Twitter has made the leap from “micro-blogging” to discovery engine. You can see it happening with the reduced prominence and location of the composer box on the web version, and the increased prominence of the discovery UI. It’s an acknowledgement that many people who use Twitter don’t actually use it for expression, but rather information gathering. This is an important shift, and something that people who are the publishers will have to get used to.

When half of your daily users don’t Tweet, but just login to see what’s happening, you have to make that discovery easier. And I think this new release is a step in the right direction. As for the criticism? It’s myopic and self-centered and fundamentally misses the broader implications and use cases of the Twitter user base at large.

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3 Videos Every Product Manager Must Watch

Sketch for Twitter. See also the author's desc...

Image via Wikipedia

Being a product manager is tough work. You’re constantly balancing out the needs of the business, the needs of the users and the capabilities and bandwidth of engineering to move the product forward and to make it more successful. It takes a lot of smarts, enthusiasm, communication, persuasion, editorial skill and courage to do the job well. (There are other traits, but those strike me first.) Products need strong product managers to thrive and succeed. Product managers need to have a clear vision of where the product needs to go and what resonates with users to reach that success. The product manager truly is their brother’s keeper.

Over the last day and a half I’ve watched three impressive talks from some of the smartest product people in the world and I wanted to share them with you here.

Fred Wilson‘s 10 Principles of Successful Web Apps

This is a great talk where venture capitalist Fred Wilson (investor in Foursquare, Twitter, Delicious, others) outlines the 10 essentials to making a successful web application. Every product manager should be considering how their product stacks up to these ten things.  His ten essentials are:

  1. Speed
  2. Instant Utility
  3. Software as Media
  4. Less is More
  5. Make it Programmable
  6. Make it Personal
  7. RESTful
  8. Discoverability
  9. Clean
  10. Playful


Fred Wilson at the Future of Web Apps Miami 2010

Jack Dorsey: 3 Keys to Twitter’s Success

In this talk, Twitter co-founder talks about the four keys to Twitter’s success (he says 3 but then throws in a bonus fourth at the end.) They’re powerful tools for any product manager in the product design and definition phases as well as the ongoing evolution of the product itself.

His 4 keys to Twitter’s success are:

  1. Draw, get your ideas out of your head and in front of others.
  2. Luck, understand when the market is ready for your idea.
  3. Iterate, take tons of feedback, edit like crazy and refine your product.
  4. Know when to stop, know when a product is finished instead of adding feature after feature.


Jack Dorsey: 3 Keys to Twitter’s Success from 99% on Vimeo.

Kathy Sierra on Creating Awesome Users

Kathy Sierra gives a great talk on how our focus can’t be on our product, service or company; but rather on our users and how we can move them from frustrated first-timers to passionate advocates who spread our product effortlessly to their social circles. Here’s her recipe for creating awesome users.


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Twitter, Comedy and Writing with Constraints

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Conan on comedy writing on Twitter, from one of my favorite blogs, Bobulate:

What’s interesting about Twitter is that because you’re limited to 140 characters … it’s actually a great comedy-writing tool. There’s this economy of words. So I’m constantly writing things, and I run them past [Blair] and he’ll say that’s actually three words over. That forces you to look back at the sentence. It forces you to crystalize your comedy idea, which is fascinating.

The Statusphere is changing the way we’re communicating.  In a world where every character counts, how is your communication evolving?  For me, less is more. Constraints in speech are a blessing.

Want more? Check out Conan’s full interview at Google and The Onion’s web editor, Baratunde Thurston’s Web 2.0 expo talk “There’s a #hashtag for that” below for an in-depth look at how comedy “works” on Twitter.

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Social Media Stats for 2010

Socialnomics book

Socialnomics book

Socialnomics author Erik Qualman has updated his popular Social Media Revolution video that shows how big the social media opportunity has become for companies and individuals alike.  He packs a ton of social media stats into this video and it does a nice job summarizing the shifts that social media have created in our marketing landscape.

I’m always a bit leery of over-selling social media because I believe it is sometimes heralded as a panacea when really it is part of a bigger brand/marketing whole. Social media “experts” tend to miss that part of the conversation or address it with a bunch of hand waving.  But in general I think this video does a nice job of showing how big the opportunity in social media really is.


Image from socialnomics.net.

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