Twitter May Be Realizing the Full Stream is Overwhelming

There’s a report in Vice’s Motherboard that Twitter is experimenting with arranging your Twitter feed in a non-chronological order that’s curated by an algorithm.  It’s similar to what Facebook does with showing you the posts you’d find most interesting.

Twitter is trying to find a way to make itself more appealing to a mass audience and grow their numbers. Twitter could be realizing the forcing it’s users to consume the full stream is overwhelming.  Twitter may be the world’s microphone but if you follow many accounts that’s a lot to handle. It’s easier to just show consumers the things they’ll find most interesting.

I’m an off and on TweetDeck user for consuming Twitter. But then I realized that the fact that TweetDeck exists and is useful demonstrates Twitter’s problem. The stream is just too much that you have to break it into different columns. This is great for power users but the eyes of normal people glaze over.

Of course, while curated Twitter streams is better UX for consumers, it’s terrible for people and brands that use Twitter as a means to communicate with their audience. With the way it is now, it’s fairly straightforward how Twitter works and what you need to get seen. If Twitter moves towards algorithm-driven curation, we’ll have no clue if or how to actually reach the audience that we’ve built up, just like Facebook. You’ll probably have to pay in order to reach your audience on Twitter, much like Facebook.

I’m super curious how this’ll all shake out.

 

Remember the scientific method from elementary school?

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The other day I was thinking back to elementary school days. I can vividly remember being quizzed on the different steps of the scientific method. You ask a question, create a hypothesis, run an experiment, analyze results, rinse and repeat.

It’s funny how much this plays into my professional career twenty five years later. At work, we’ve done an incredible job building up social, email, and search as inbound marketing channels. We’re constantly asking questions and testing a hypothesis. Trying to figure out how we can squeeze out more juice.

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer. Every platform is providing a better and better analytics. And most of the platforms analytics are real time. You can try something and immediately get feedback from your audience about whether it worked or not, iterate, and repeat your test.

But more than marketing… that scientific method that we learned in elementary school really has become a lifestyle. You ask questions, try new things in life, see how it goes, analyze, iterate, rinse and repeat. I do it with every aspect of my life. It helps me as I work to optimize everything from an email marketing strategy to how to best teach my kid the things he needs to know.

It’s funny how much those early things play such a big important role in your life down the road.

Avoiding Restaurants Without High Chairs and Changing Tables

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One weekend, we took a drive up the Mississippi River. It’s a pretty drive and there’s some cute little towns. There was a winery with a restaurant. We decided to stop there for lunch.

When we get to the restaurant, we have the kid with us and ask for a high chair. They respond with “We don’t have high chairs. We’re a winery.” I was pissed but we’d already made our order and paid. So we stayed and he stayed with the kid in the stroller next to the table.  I felt bad for the other parents of young kids who were in a similar position and were struggling with their wiggly kids on their laps.

There’s a new fried chicken place in St Louis that I’ve been dying to try. But the restaurant has high top tables and 2 booths.  Having a kid in a high chair with high top tables doesn’t really work. Plus the restaurant is always crazy busy. It was a non-starter.

Having a kid changes how you see the world. What you look out for completely changes.  I wish there was an app that’d help me be successful.

The world of local search for businesses and restaurants is phenomenal. Yelp, Foursquare, and Google Maps are incredible products.  But I want more.

I want to ask those apps if the restaurant has high chairs. I want to ask if the restaurant has a changing table in the bathroom.  Is the changing table in both bathrooms or just the women’s? This knowledge would change what businesses I patronize.

Would you find this helpful?

 

Resource for Learning How to Code

After yesterday’s post, I got a lot of questions from friends and readers asking for available resource for learning how to code.

Code Academy – These are incredible self-driven online courses that’ll teach you how to code. It’s free and covers everything from basic things like HTML & CSS to programming Python. If you’re just looking to get your feet wet, this is a great way to do it.

Skillshare – More online classes.

General Assembly (GA) – They provide a mix of both online and in person classes, if you have the pleasure of having a GA campus in your town.

The Iron Yard – They provide in person classes at their campuses around the world.

Are there ones that I’m missing? Drop a comment.

Being a Modern Marketer Requires Basic HTML & JavaScript Skills

So my day job is marketing operations for AddThis. Today, I had to make some changes to our Contact Us form. It required that I change the backend routing which is done with JavaScript. I opened my Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and edited with the switch statement to include a new option that we were adding.

Yep, I’m a marketer and I know how to code. I have an IDE. I was able to write some basic JavaScript. And… it all worked.

I firmly believe that modern marketers have some basic HTML & JavaScript skills. You’ll find yourself needing to edit the code of an HTML email because something isn’t displaying correctly.  Are you going to run to a developer every time? No. That creates a HUGE bottle neck. Just do it yourself.

AddThis Website Tools is used by a lot of marketers. It requires that you copy & paste a couple lines of JavaScript and paste it into the code of your site. If we ask you to spot the <body> tag, that shouldn’t freak you out. Knowing how to do this yourself will gain you a tremendous amount of respect from your engineering team.

The modern marketer needs to be able to find their way around HTML, CSS, and some basic JavaScript. Marketing is increasingly technical and has to work with technical people. Having some basic technical skills is a MUST.

52 Issues

This morning I sent the 52nd issue of my personal email newsletter, Justin’s List. I share the most interesting things I read all week. Can’t believe that I’ve kept it going this long.  It’s really just something I was experimenting with but the numbers always proved to be something people enjoyed.

It started out of a frustration with social media. It was feeling so noisy that I didn’t feel like I was reaching people effectively anymore. At work, we had invested a lot into email marketing and seen huge results. Why wasn’t I doing it personally?

Social media is so noisy. It’s a never ending stream that’s impossible to keep up with. If I post something on Facebook or Twitter, it’s a complete toss up whether someone will actually see it. When delivering something to someone’s email inbox, I feel more confident that they’ll see it. It’s in their inbox and their inbox is MUCH more personal.

And also interesting… Starting to see more of my friends experimenting with this as well.

The ancient technology of email isn’t going anywhere and I predict that’ll become even more important in today’s world.