14 Feb 2009

Why do you like Twitter?

To give a somehow scientific validated hint I have go back to 1956. Elliott Jaques, an organizational psychologist want to understand the changing culture of a factory and tried to measure the responsibility in work studies. A few years later he introduced the concept of the mid-life crisis, but this is not a story for this post. In 1956 Elliot Jaques' research leads to a concept which he names "time span of discretion". Simply put, time span of discretion of the work in a role can be determined by identifying the longest task for which one is held accountable. An example: as a CEO of a company you have a very long time span of discretion. You can not expect to get a feedback about your initiatives for creating a future oriented business system in 6 month nor in 3 years. Therefore the time span of discretion is a method of measuring responsibility. This concept could be also used to explain rejection of self-management. A person will simply be unable to do the work required by the job until he get appropriate feedback over time.

Twitter is changing the time span of discretion in many ways. Twitter would not solve all problems of late feedback about the quality of a CEO's decision. But Twitter could lead to a change in the time span for many activities. You can receive feedback in shorter cycles, and often and maybe more important new feedback loops are created. How do you feel when your Tweet becomes "Retweeted" several times? Did you really never check how often a link you had posted has been opened? We as human beings are looking for feedback, and we want to reduce the time span of discretion for our activities.

Two examples I received unexpected feedback via Twitter these days:

When we are looking for ways to get appropriate and rapid feedback Twitter is an interesting medium. We can receive positive and negative publicity. Using Twitter we can attracted considerable attention, receive intrinsic motivation and capitalise on reputation. That's why I like Twitter!

No comments: