Designed Thinking : Twitter

The world of social has many moving parts — analytics, tools, tactics and counter-revolutions — and its impossible to deny the role social media will have in our lives going forward. These tools have been tremendous for our firm. We have found opportunities to work nationally and even internationally because of our social network. We’ve advised clients on these social media options and (more importantly) weve pushed the idea of design thinking into social media.

One of our practices in the area of design thinking comes from Lou Carbone’s practice of asking the question, “how does this make you feel?” vs. “how do you feel about our brand?” The distinction is small at first, yet profound when you apply it in practice. By asking, “how do we want people to feel when we do what we do” will direct you toward a stronger emotional result. This sometimes seems nuanced and hence irrelevant, but it is far from such categorization. How you make people feel has a direct correlation to how likely someone is to rave about you and set his or her tent up in the “loyal to you” camp.

We applied this line of thinking to one of our social platforms, Twitter.

We started with an experiment. We designed a small experience for our followers within the Twitter universe by looking at how lists were used by most other Twitter practitioners. We found that most of these users apply lists to categorize a person or company for their own interests and benefit.

For instance, consider lists titled “CMOs,” “locals” or “highly likely to retweet”. These lists are each designed for the listing person, not the person being listed. It does very little to build a relationship and merely gives someone the feeling of categorization and self-interest by the categorizer.

We thought about this for a bit and decided to use lists to say something about the person, from what we could gather quickly from their description, image and link. Simple things like: “People: Vivid”, “People: Authentic” or “People: Quirky” with the intention of designing a small moment for the person getting listed. We bent the Twitter experience by changing the generally accepted rules to consider how we want followers to feel. The result is a long list of interesting attributes [you can find here] depending on the people following us, or those we follow.


So, what was the outcome?

Just a short week of testing this new way of thinking has provided great indications for how a designed moment can generate an emotional response.

The responses below came from individuals taking a photo on their phone and tweeting about their listed category. There has been many more tweeting about being listed in a similar way. These early outcomes are certainly providing us with enough evidence to continue to apply this approach to the larger pool of six thousand followers.

What does this small experiment mean for your social media planning?

Here’s how we see it. If you view social media as just a mutation of traditional media, it becomes a broadcast platform with little or no emotional engagement. For many, it’s just a race to the largest number of followers and an effort to measure the price of a follower. Perhaps it is better to measure the value of an emotional engagement with a follower. This approach changes how you design the experience for the people you believe to be important to the future of your brand.

Design social moments for people.

About The Author

Aaron Keller

I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior and design? Oh, it’s on.

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