Appealing to the masses

When you are contemplating aspects of various solution options, what do you consider?   Time/Cost for development?  Business Value?  Cost to maintain?  Simplicity?  Others?     I’m here to tell you not to underweight simplicity.   Even in regards to a tool like Twitter which is currently on its way from early adopters into the mainstream, it is the simple things that get traction.

Recently, I wanted to find a way to collect the information of professional speakers who are using Twitter.  Different people may have different uses for that information, but there is no doubt that collecting the info into one place will be useful.

So, how to do it?  

  1. There is a Twitter app out there (wefollow.com) that will allow any user to tag themselves with the keyword “speaker”.  
  2. I could have written a quick form that collects information into a publically viewable spreadsheet.  
  3. I could have created a space on a collaboration platform and had people share their twitter handles there.

Normally I would have selected #1 because in my estimation it is the easiest to implement, the most scalable, and probably the one that will be easiest to manage over the long term.  Instead, I decided to follow the lead of @ITSinsider (original idea from @shawnrog) and do something less efficient, but more familiar to the target audience and therefore simpler…. I merely created a public-facing, editable by everyone, Google spreadsheet and then publicized a link to it: http://bit.ly/ManhC .  While I did not do a true test with both an A and a B, I am pretty confident that the 80 or so submissions in 3 days, is far more than what would have been achieved with a different method.

Keep this in mind when you are planning your next initiative.  Simple (for your target audience) is almost always better.

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