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November 17, 2012 7:16 AM   Subscribe

You should follow me on twitter.
posted by Evernix (54 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fun experiment, but it's not actually a randomized controlled trial. The "you should follow me on twitter" text isn't the only thing that changes, and there's no way in this study to account for the influence of changes in the content over time. Proper A/B testing will show different things to different people during the same period.
posted by honest knave at 7:26 AM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


You should favorite my comment here ↓.
posted by mazola at 7:33 AM on November 17, 2012 [91 favorites]


I've written advertising copy for years. He should have used 'Follow me on Twitter NOW! Click here to find out why.'
posted by colie at 7:35 AM on November 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


No, you should follow me on Twitter!
posted by fallingbadgers at 7:38 AM on November 17, 2012


Like a dumbass, I clicked on "here" and got a glimpse into such an incredibly boring brain I began to wonder if my most cynical opinions of my fellow citizens might be accurate.
posted by kozad at 7:42 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much of this is just having text thats a little different from the other millions of blogs that are out there. In other words if everyone starts using this kind wording it will probably stop working.
posted by Lanark at 7:46 AM on November 17, 2012


I tried mazola but all that does is highlight the date for me. Stupid computers!
posted by graventy at 7:46 AM on November 17, 2012


This week, limited time offer, learn how to convey complex ideas in 140 characters or less without oversimplifying or getting cut off in mid
posted by fallingbadgers at 7:47 AM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Interesting! It looks like this article was written in 2009, when Twitter was less widely known. I wonder if the results would be different today.

I also notice that he has this phrase at the end of his bio blurb in the bottom of the page - it's the end of a paragraph. I wonder if the testing was just the phrase in isolation, or in that spot as part of the paragraph.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:52 AM on November 17, 2012


You should make a pointless comment.
posted by orme at 7:56 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


You should embark on a great journey, leaving behind your material possessions, personal relationships, and professional aspirations.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:59 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Damn it. I meant "here". You should embark on a great journey, leaving behind your material possessions, personal relationships, and professional aspirations HERE.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:01 AM on November 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


I have an eBook on how you should live a great life travelling on cruise ships. Click HERE to find out how.
posted by arcticseal at 8:05 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dustin Curtis, who wrote this article, is also the guy who criticized American Airlines' web site, published a response from one of AA's graphic designers, and wrote that that designer was fired after writing. But both this article and the AA one are quite old by web standards.

His was one of the first "blogazines", but I don't think it stands up especially well; the "blogazine" format in general risks abandoning solidly-designed writing in favor of graphic-design trickiness, and it's only gotten worse in years since. Interestingly enough, one of Dustin's recent projects, Svbtle, is a total pivot from that sort of flashiness: it's a network of bloggers whose themes are identical save for their logo and highlight color.

Anybody interested in entrepreneurialism/product design/that super-positive "let's change the world guys!" philosophy could do worse than to check out his blog. If you don't like that mindset you'll find this obnoxious, warning you waaaay in advance, but he's definitely interested not only in design for its own sake, but in understanding why design is important and how it matters in people's lives. He's a young guy, don't expect anything monstrously insightful, but I still find his take on things illuminating now and then, and this last month he's been on a roll.

He definitely started on the "market things/make things pretty for prettiness's own sake" side and as a result sometimes his projects feel a little shallow and irritatingly so, but he's a good guy, and for about as long as he's been writing publicly he's been pushing towards finding better reasons to do what he does, and I appreciate the hell out of that.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:08 AM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Next step: Hypnotically rotating mandala GIF over the words "You will follow me on Twitter..."
posted by Egg Shen at 8:13 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fun experiment, but it's not actually a randomized controlled trial. The "you should follow me on twitter" text isn't the only thing that changes, and there's no way in this study to account for the influence of changes in the content over time. Proper A/B testing will show different things to different people during the same period.
posted by honest knave at 16:26 on November 17 [1 favorite +] [!]


I think that's what he actually did: "Each of the permutations I chose was randomly selected so that it was seen by 5,000 unique visitors to various articles on dustincurtis.com over the period of a couple hours in the afternoon (PST)."
posted by Ms. Next at 8:13 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or else what?
posted by spitbull at 8:15 AM on November 17, 2012


The result of switching to a command is pretty remarkable; the clickthrough rate jumped by 55% to 7.31%.

That's quite a jump, although apparently in the negative direction. Maybe he was doing B/A testing instead of A/B testing.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:15 AM on November 17, 2012


Also, given that this is over three years old, whith internet culture, views and habits changing over time, I wonder if today he'd end up with the same results.
posted by Ms. Next at 8:16 AM on November 17, 2012


Egg Shen, Imma steal that when I embark on my career as a professional psychic.
posted by brina at 8:17 AM on November 17, 2012


twoleftfeet: that confused me too, at first, but it's not "from 55%", but "by".
posted by Ms. Next at 8:18 AM on November 17, 2012


Follow me on twitter you fucking fuck.#diminishing returns
posted by Trochanter at 8:24 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Have you heard the awful things people are saying about you???
posted by nathancaswell at 8:26 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I use a rigorous system of A/B testing in my daily life. Every day I meet people at random, sometimes in the supermarket, sometimes at the dry cleaners, sometimes in an elevator... it doesn't matter. But I purposefully present myself in one of two contrary ways, and I monitor the approval or disapproval of the people I meet.

Yesterday I portrayed myself as an atheistic, Republican fan of the San Francisco Giants. But today I will be a born-again Democrat who loves the Detroit Tigers.

I feel that this kind of rigorous testing will allow me to eventually determine a belief system that I can accept as my own, because it has been field-tested to be successful.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:34 AM on November 17, 2012 [22 favorites]


Or else what?

More "testing" to get you to read tweets. It will eventually become omnipresent, blocking all attempts to communicate as millions of dollars of venture capital jam the airwaves until everyone wakes up witha hangover and says "WtF? Who thought that monetizing tweets would ever pay back costs?" and rush after the next big thing, say inter-cranial broadcast. So, if you follow his fucking tweets now, they will figure they have the recipe, and while the scenario will still play out (because throwing money at the internet in the naive dream that it will throw more money back is a thing), at least you won't be constantly pestered with messages of "follow my tweets."

On the other hand, this is essentially negotiating with terrorists, but what are you going to do?
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:47 AM on November 17, 2012


The weird thing is that ever increasing amounts of analyses are devoted to an ever decreasing message length. You can A/B test the smallest thing, if you have time. And this really does prevent people from doing what comes naturally. "President Lincoln, our focus group says you should drop that four score and seven years line and replace it with 87 years, because that tests better. We're still not sure about the slavery thing, but we should know in a few months, once we have better polling data."
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:03 AM on November 17, 2012


You know who else didn't click here to follow me on Twitter? #Godwin
posted by 445supermag at 9:13 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn it. I meant "here".

You must change your life here.
posted by RogerB at 9:16 AM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


You should stop using Twitter.
posted by Decani at 9:26 AM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


This article completely gave me the creeps. As did the popup message about him wanting to do..some kind of tracking thing I forget now...to my computer. Fuck that.

Good god, are y'all such robots that you seriously do this? Ugh.

YOU SHOULD STOP USING TWITTER, HERE. Or anywhere.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:01 AM on November 17, 2012


I command you all to do whatever the fuck you want!
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:25 AM on November 17, 2012


hypnotoad.gif
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 10:27 AM on November 17, 2012


In Cyril Kornbluth's classic SF story, The Advent on Channel Twelve, the producers of the struggling childrens' show Poopy Panda Pals are worried sick because kids aren't nagging their parents to buy the sponsoring products - the ones Poopy Panda urges all his pals to buy - the way they used to. Dark rumors of cancellation are in the air.

So one day, in desperation, Poopy Panda doesn't encourage children to make their parents buy the products - he commands it.

This works surprisingly well, and things quickly snowball from there:

And it came to pass that on the Friday after the two-week buildup, in the closing quarter-hour of the Poopy Panda Pals, there was a special film combining live and animated action as they were one.

And in the special film did Poopy Panda appear enhaloed, and the talented kid performers did do him worship, and Otto Clodd did trip over his feet whilst kneeling, and Jacky Whipple did urge in manly and sincere wise that all the Poopy Panda Pals out there in television-land do likewise, and the enhaloed Poopy Panda did say in his lovable growly voice, Poop-poop-poopy.

And adoration ascended from thirty-seven million souls.

posted by Naberius at 10:45 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


His blog indicates he is currently 25 years old. So I think he was 22 when he wrote that arrogant piece which got someone fired. One of his assertions at the time was about how most folks do not care about "user experience". It didn't go over well to point out that getting fired is a pretty negative user experience for a website, far worse than putting up with an annoying interface typically is.

I mention that background to make this point: He strikes me as a young hotshot who really does not think things through all that thoroughly. Because of that, even though I know of respected people who use the phrasing here that he a/b tested, I have not implemented it on any of my sites. I cannot help but wonder what he may have missed here that would be the equivalent of brushing off getting someone fired while crowing about caring so much more than others about "user experience".

Whether relevent or not, it just makes me very leery of any conclusions he has drawn.
posted by Michele in California at 10:46 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER SO YOU CAN IGNORE ME LIKE THE REST OF THE BORING PROMOTIONAL SHIT ON TWITTER


i am a terrible salesperson. But realistic.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:55 AM on November 17, 2012


Follow me here………………now here




NOW OVER THERE……………………………………………

and finally……here.
posted by stltony at 10:59 AM on November 17, 2012


"Get 1 million+ followers on your Twitter account - find out how by following me NOW!"
posted by colie at 11:28 AM on November 17, 2012


Gross.
posted by lrobertjones at 11:29 AM on November 17, 2012


You should follow me on twitter, asshole.
posted by Jofus at 11:41 AM on November 17, 2012


I spend a lot of time thinking about the user experience. I could be spending that time learning about the last fifty years of research in marketing, or statistics, but reinventing the wheel lets me spend more time on Twitter.
posted by benzenedream at 11:46 AM on November 17, 2012


I know a guy whose company's future is kind of hinging on the repeal online gambling bans in the US. I'm not too sure if that's likely or not.

Yeah, if your website just flashes a warning at me that you want to store data offline (why? What could possibly be important?) you're doing it wrong.
posted by maxwelton at 11:47 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


make me.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 12:20 PM on November 17, 2012


Oh, Dustin Curtis. He's very young, very brash, very confident that he's right about most things. After reading that post of his, I did add the above phrase after posts on my blog; it sounded like it couldn't hurt. But I get the annoyance. I'm trying to remember which one of his blog posts I wrote comments on calling him out for something-or-other... Oh right, I took issue with his proclamation of "the death of files." What I do admire is his ability to confidently keep throwing ideas out there, and his willingness (at least previously; I don't know whether this is still the case) to do freelance work for anyone who would pay for his airfare and lodging, which led to him doing an interesting series of stints abroad. Even if he isn't always right about everything, he's talked his way into being at least somewhat influential among a certain set, which is interesting in itself.
posted by limeonaire at 1:03 PM on November 17, 2012


You should follow me on Twitter, through here. (because members-only)
posted by exlotuseater at 1:23 PM on November 17, 2012


You should have followed me on Twitter. What have you been missing? What if we are all tweeting about you? How much time do you have left? Yes, you should have followed me on Twitter...
posted by ecmendenhall at 1:50 PM on November 17, 2012


You.

Me.

Twitter.

Now.

After you favorite this comment.
posted by Samizdata at 2:24 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


You're not allowed to follow me on twitter.
posted by davejay at 2:25 PM on November 17, 2012


Stop following me on twitter. It's annoying.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:48 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any time someone tells me I should do something, I do the opposite just to spite them.
posted by Solomon at 4:12 PM on November 17, 2012


You should stop using Twitter. YOU SHOULD STOP USING TWITTER, HERE. Or anywhere.

Why? if I stop using Twitter, I won't be able to make a pithy comment about the weird shit the guy in front of me in line at Wal Mart was buying. You can find out all about it here!
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:52 PM on November 17, 2012


"My name is Dustin Curtis.
I have been alive for 9,311 days."

And the pointless little Flash Gordon logo- this is like a Spinal Tap parody of this sort of "creative," right?
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:21 PM on November 17, 2012


The key word in that call to action is *follow*, not message or communicate. Twitter is pivoting away from its original purpose into a kind of proprietary replacement for RSS.
posted by Lanark at 2:55 AM on November 18, 2012


I shan't follow you on twitter.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:43 PM on November 18, 2012


I cannot stand the whole "click here" link shit. If you can't figure out what is a link, don't go on the internet.
posted by stormpooper at 6:55 AM on November 19, 2012


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