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Monday, June 2nd, 2008

No, this isn’t my grand plan for how Twitter should scale isn’t it obvious I am the prettiest girl at the ball look at me. Instead, I’m going to share a small social engineering hack I’ve picked up to use on Twitter:

Instead of asking Is tool X good?, ask Is tool X good for task Y? or What tool should I use for task Y?

The results are pretty interesting. I definitely see dramatically more @replies to questions in the second and third form than to those in the first (blame quotably sucking for the lack of data). My totally pseduo science explanation follows:

When asking someone if something is “good”, the knee jerk response (especially among nerds) tends to be Good for what?, which makes a lot of sense because nerds are very conscious about using the right tool for the job. This explains why the second form gets more @replies.

The third form though, I think is a bit different. Since you didn’t say what tools you already knew about, people tend to assume you know nothing and will pipe up. I’ve seen @rands do a number of informal twitter polls and they seem to work really well for him, by the completely arbitrary and self centered metric that I find myself compelled to reply most of the time.