An experiment

Anyone who follows me on twitter or is friends with me on facebook will probably have seen my request for help with a tie-breaker question last night.  If you didn’t or don’t then I will explain what I did anyway, so you won’t be lost.

I promised my friends on facebook that I would explain why I was doing it later and I fully intended to do the same for any interested twitter followers. If I am going to ask for help I will try and make it either worth the while of those that do, or at the very least explain why I am asking.  When I thought about it I realised explaining on twitter/facebook was not feasible, so have decided to use my blog.  Here goes:

What I did was post the tie breaker and ask for people to suggest ways to complete it.  Here is what I posted on facebook:

“I have a tie breaker to complete (is a long story and surprisingly important to me, will explain later to those that help) – will my lovely friends give me suggestions please?

Tie breaker, to be completed in less than 25 words: ‘The only thing better than being by the sea is …’ “

And on twitter (necessarily with greater brevity):

“Need help with tie breaker (important to me, honest) suggestions please? ‘The only thing better than being by the sea is …’ (in 25 words)”

I did this because I had a meeting with some lovely people in Brighton this morning to talk digital/social media stuff.  They had issued the tie breaker, presumably to get some kind of a feel for the personality of the people they were meeting with.  Having come up with my own answer, I found myself wondering how other people would approach the question.  What I can’t know (without asking) is how someone else would interpret it and how they would approach answering it.  Given the general subject under discussion was social/digital media I thought it would be interesting to find out if/how I could use my ‘social media presence’ (sounds a little pretentious, but it explains what I mean) to try and gather some data, which I could then talk about at the meeting.

I was also curious to know if I could summon enough influence to get responses at all.  As I waited for responses, I realised I was going to have to care-take this process a bit to get anything out of it.  I prompted and flattered a little, explained it was important to me, made a point of thanking people for joining in.  On twitter, I reported on how twitter was doing vs facebook as I thought a little competition might persuade my followers to join in.

It was fascinating, although obviously only on a very small scale.  The two different media did exhibit differences in responses and I learned a lot about encouraging people to respond to me on a very specific subject. This is a facet I don’t really explore in my personal use of social media.  It was really interesting to do so.

I will write up a post giving some more detail on the outcomes and what I learned from this before long, as well as giving my favourite tie breakers. Some of them were very inventive.  In the mean time, you can check my twitter feed (@pinkyandnobrain) from last night for the bits and pieces of my live commentary on it.  I would write it all up this evening, but it has been an incredibly long day and I haven’t allowed myself to really sleep properly for a few days either.  I doubt I’ll make much sense and I’ll stay up too late if I try.

Lastly, thank you very, very much to everyone who joined in.  I wasn’t sure if anyone would even take any notice of me, let alone contribute with such good humour and enthuasiasm.  What lovely people you all are!

Update 10/09/2011: for a longer and more rambly post with a bit more detail, please have a look here.