Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Microsoft agreed with me – no problem.

June 9, 2009

That was a Tweet!

My dispute with Microsoft has been resolved – they agree with me completely. No Problem – they are even sending me back some money (a very small amount)!

To my surprise, their registration records are now complete and correct, too. I sent a FAX of prior registration records, and someone added it all to my customer records. Also in the records is a note on what was done and why.

So, Microsoft responded to a customer issue correctly after some time and added context to their records. Good for them!

That’s the “story” – more than a tweet allows, isn’t it…

Twitter part 2 – still don’t get it…

June 9, 2009

Time magazine’s June 15, 2009 issue arrived in today’s (snail) mail. The cover feature article: Twitter “… how Twitter is changing the way we live – and showing us the future of innovation.” I had no idea this was coming from Time when I made my earlier post- this was quite a surprise! I read the article, and I still don’t get it… In fact, I think that Twitter may be an impediment to communicating effectively after all is said and done – give us ten years to see what happens.

Let me expand on this a bit – I get it –¬†I get the “draw” to this chatting tool…

You can tell your friends something – you can say anything that fits in 140 characters – to anyone who is interested in hearing from you – even to people you have never met or received a communication of any sort from. You “broadcast” – you don’t deal with people one to one, but one to many. You don’t wait for them to answer the phone, say hello, chit-chat a little and then get on with your announcement – you “tweet” and Twitter waits for the other person to read your “tweet” at their convenience without any inconvenience on your part. It’s not for “mission-critical” communications, but you can say anything you want from the mundane to the Earthshaking. And you don’t have to linger to hear the other person’s response – they can “tweet” back to you, and if you are registered to receive their “tweets”, you read their response at your convenience – but only if you want to hear from that other person, and only when you have the time.

Twitter – Great! No confrontation, no waiting, no wasted time – it just takes a moment! Simpler than e-mail. Like SMS on the desktop – you only “tweet” a line at a time… You are always short of time, so that’s still great! And Twitter gives you a control panel and dashboard that SMS doesn’t offer in any way. I get the draw to Twitter.

But I think Twitter will do us some harm – Twitter will change the way we live by making casual communication less nuanced and less intimate, and I for one won’t like it. Let me “peel the onion a layer” and illustrate why with an actual experience of a client of mine whose company failed, and there was nothing I could do to rescue them. My client contact asked me to facilitate a meeting on what steps would salvage his failing product line. He wanted a 15 minute presentation to his CEO, CTO, and several direct reports followed by a working lunch to discuss the strategy. I have done this before – seven senior managers – no problem… I asked everyone to power their phones off, but I was sure that most if not all just put their phones in silent mode – that’s common. During the 15 minute presentation, each person was continuously reaching into their pocket for their phone to read its display – it was a continuous chorus of quiet buzzing coming from around the table and a lot of flying thumbs. I was unable to maintain eye contact with any of these managers as they responded to the distraction to read their tweets and as some sent out their own tweets in reply.

Lunch conversation was just as awkward. “what do we do?” “let’s diversify the product.” “we need a plan” “no we don’t, not enough time” “Brian has some good ideas” buzz. buzz, buzz, tweet, tweet, tweet – it was continuous. As we were talking, it dawned on me that this management team was in “tweet mode” with each other – one sentence expressed each thought – they didn’t wait for another’s response to build a synergy of ideas into a plan. When lunch was over, everyone walked out, most looking at their phones and thumbing away on their keyboards. I was left alone with my presentation equipment and my laptop – and the cookies…

What I saw was “Twitter Culture” – live and up close:

  • short attention spans,
  • continuously interrupted thinking,
  • poor conceptualization, compromise and planning¬†skills,
  • poor synergy and a tendency for false consensus.

This is how Twitter may change our world, and I don’t think that I like this Twitter culture…

Twitter – OK, maybe I DON’T get it…

June 6, 2009

This is a tale of a job interview a while back that left my brain spinning. No company names disclosed here – no sour grapes, either. The bottom line – the hiring manager wanted all status reports via an enterprise Twitter tool – “If you can’t put a status in 140 characters or less, you’re not thinking concisely enough.” the manager explained. I don’t get it…

I interview for a “real job” once every few years – I frankly enjoy being self employed – a lot… But once in a blue moon, a job opportunity surfaces that is so intriguing that I apply for it. This particular job was essentially a product manager with financial responsibilities and a small staff to communicate requirements and administer internal commitments with software development, manufacturing, support, sales and marketing organizations and external commitments with a hardware manufacturer partner and the primary customers. The job was “right up my alley” with a product that I was passionate about and an expert on in the industry. I recall thinking that I had this “in the bag”. NOT.

In the interview, the hiring manager posed a hypothetical situation and asked me to send him a sample status report by e-mail over lunch. I sent a one-page report with one significant accomplishment, two significant problems that were “under control”, and one small issue that posed a risk of become something much bigger if circumstances changed in a particular way. The hiring manager said, “I won’t have the time to read this – this is too much information… I will want you to Twitter the status.” What? I don’t get it… I asked, “How many tweets a day do you look for?” “Oh, sometimes none, maybe one or two – no more than that…” the manager said. “How often do you like to talk about status?” I asked. “Only when there’s a real problem, but I don’t want problems, just solutions.”

Huh? Risk and opportunity hide in nuance. How can you communicate nuance in a one-liner? I just don’t get it… At this point, I am telling myself that this is a disaster in the making – one I can rescue this company from, but one that may come with a lot of grief. I put on my “product face” and focus our conversation after lunch on the pertinent relationships I have in the industry particularly with the hardware partner and the proven expertise I have with this particular product area. I’m going for this job – I want this job – I live for a challenge! I really do!

I don’t get the job. I am REALLY disappointed.

A recent chance meeting with this hiring manager after a year or so had past gave me an opportunity to ask what soured him in my interview? His frank answer – “You weren’t using Twitter – you weren’t even using FaceBook. You would have been difficult for me to manage.” On its face, I understand that answer – a manager has a style, and a direct report in a key position has to accommodate the manager’s style. A direct report’s communication style can be crucial to the success of a working relationship – I get that.

But I don’t get Twitter as a management tool – Twitter is a casual “chatting” tool focused on “one-liners”. Tweets can convey context – who, what, when and where in real time, and there may be some real value in that, but a tweet doesn’t convey nuance. You have to mine for nuance if you are going to win the war – you have to look past the context and dig into the underlying “story” in order to step past risk and jump on your opportunities before the competition does.

OK, maybe I DON’T get Twitter, but on this one, I don’t think the hiring manager got it… I still don’t “tweet”, but, well, I AM on FaceBook now!