Another reason why Twitter is so interesting

My obligatory Twitter post. An interesting thing about Twitter is that, on the web site, the read page is also the write page. On the very same page that we read aggregated posts from our contacts we write our own posts to them. This is different…most tools don’t have this except IM. Not SMS, not […]

My obligatory Twitter post.

An interesting thing about Twitter is that, on the web site, the read page is also the write page. On the very same page that we read aggregated posts from our contacts we write our own posts to them. This is different…most tools don’t have this except IM. Not SMS, not email, not blogs, all of which usually have a separate screen for posting. And none of them except email have an aggregation feature like Twitter (some group IMs have it but don’t save stuff over time). Having reading and writing on the same page lowers the barrier to posting, making it even easier to respond or say something quick.

But are things like this important? Are tiny barriers to posting really keeping anybody back from doing so? Does having the write box on the read page actually make a difference?

Absolutely.

Here’s why. It’s set theory. It’s like this question: Which is more likely, that a person is a teenager or that a person is a teenager and has a MySpace account? Since many people equate teenagers with being on MySpace, many people will answer the latter, that it is more likely that the person is a teenager with a MySpace account. But that’s the wrong answer because that set of people has to be a subset of the first set. It has to be the case that the number of teenagers outnumbers the numbers of teenagers who also (in addition to their teenagerness) have a MySpace account.

Same with the write box being on the read page. We can ask the question differently. Which is more likely, that a person will post a message to Twitter or that a person will click a link to a different page and then post a message to Twitter? In the second case the person has to do something…we’re adding a task step in the same way we added that a teenager had a MySpace account…it sounds reasonable because it is the case a lot of the time but it has to be a less likely scenario.

So, any barriers to posting, no matter how small, make it less likely to happen. Combine several barriers, and the likelihood starts to drop quickly.

Published: March 19th, 2007

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