Tag Archives: tweets

Are Twitter and Vine Shrinking Our Attention Spans?

Since the beginning, Twitter users, including me, have at times been stymied and frustrated by Twitter’s seemingly arbitrary character limit, which redefined social media. Now Twitter aims to shift the paradigm for visual sharing as well with Vine, an app for sharing six-second videos. Is it the perfect balance between Instagram’s single images and YouTube’s long videos? Is it the best of both sites? The worst?

For me, the bigger question is: How much shorter can our content get?

Twitter’s 140-character limit has driven all its users, from high school students to the New York Times, to get creative when communicating. And if you want to encourage retweets, the number should be closer to 115, since some Twitter applications add your handle to the retweet (Twitter itself does not).

But it doesn’t end with Twitter. Social Media Today published an analysis that Facebook posts of 70 characters or less get the most likes and comments; posts from 71 to 140 characters do less well; and the number of likes drops tremendously when posts are more than 140 characters. The same number as a tweet – coincidence?

courtesy of Track Social and Social Media Today

courtesy of Track Social and Social Media Today

The visual social site Pinterest virtually does away with words altogether. Though Pinterest allows 500 characters for descriptions, many “pins” lack any descriptions, and some even lack titles. Over on YouTube, a study by Pew found that 29% of the most popular videos were a minute or less in length.

The trend goes beyond social media. Numerous sources state that the average length of a text message is 160 characters, which makes room for three or four words more than Twitter does. But despite the extra letters, texting brought us abbreviations like “c u l8r” and “how r u?” Those “words” have found their way into lots of online content – though not blog posts, thankfully. Yet.

Into this race to the shortest content comes Vine, with its limit of six seconds. While this allows for stop-motion animation, since users can open and close the “shutter” as much as they want, it doesn’t allow for any editing, sound effects, graphics, or titles. The videos play in a loop, much like GIFs from the slow-modem 90s and which have themselves enjoyed a recent renaissance.

Unlike GIFs, Vine videos include sound. If the user doesn’t speak, the viewer ends up hearing breathing or background noise, usually a TV. With no music or titles, many videos show a single slice of life and create a sort of Zen experience, hypnotizing you as they automatically play over and over. Like the microphone, the replay feature can’t be shut off.

People’s natural instinct is to use any new platform to tell stories. Ad agencies will use it to sell brands. There has even been some, shall we say, erotica uploaded to Vine. But how much story, or branding, or even pornography can be packed into just six seconds?

Vine screen shot

Years ago, many people bemoaned the MTV generation, which supposedly shortened the attention spans of Generation X’ers and affected everything from movie plots to video gameplay. The internet was the next step in that process, making text, photos, and videos available almost instantly. Then mobile technology allowed us to consume content while waiting in line or sitting on a plane. Twitter took us to the next level and now they’re taking us to another one. Are there any levels left?

It’s possible that Vine will be a failure, or a novelty, and most of us will stick with photos or “normal” videos. But if it’s a huge hit, and our attention spans shrink again, then I have to wonder, how much will be left?

The Week’s Most Important HR Tweets

I follow lots of influential HR, recruiting, and employer branding professionals on Twitter. They’re a great daily resource of developments in talent acquisition and retention. I retweet as many of these insights as I can, but it’s impossible to keep up with the constant stream of news. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of this week’s most important HR tweets.

Tom Boltthe popular and prolific CEO of Leute Management Services, joined a number of other HR professionals in tweeting about the article, “Five Ways to Get The Most From LinkedIn in 2013.” The article, written by Certified Professional Resume Writer Kelly Donovan reminds job-seekers to use LinkedIn’s newest features, such as endorsements, projects, and videos and slide shows. Most intriguing was the idea of sending a follow-up letter after an interview via LinkedIn mail instead of email; it’s an idea being touted as “the new cover letter.” With this piece, Kelly highlights another way that LinkedIn is changing the entire job search experience.

I noticed lots of tweets about another “top five” article – this one by Meghan Casserly in Forbes, titled “The Top Five Reasons Employees Will Quit in 2013.” Meghan cites a survey from executive advisory firm CEB that named “stability” as the most important thing workers are looking for in a new employer: “It’s about going to a place that has its act together and can offer both long-term potential and stability. The next four things employees look for are compensation, respect, health benefits, and work-life balance.

Lastly, professionals from many different business fields were tweeting Fast Company’s piece, “Secrets of America’s Happiest Companies.” In this fascinating article, Lydia Dishman points out something we at Brandemix know all too
well: that disengaged employees cost their companies money – in fact, a total
of $350 billion a year. The article is based on CareerBliss’
50 Happiest Companies List, which offers some surprises. “Fun” companies like Disney and Google didn’t even make the top ten. #1 was Pfizer, followed by NASA, the Department of Defense,
KBR, and Cisco.

Why? Lydia lists the “5 rules of employee happiness,” which include role mobility
and having a meaningful impact on the world. The third rule focuses on employee
recognition, which I always tell brands is important to workplace happiness. The
fourth and fifth rules involve work-life balance and common-sense policies that
make workers’ lives easier, not harder. If your company isn’t following at
least a few of these rules, you may be hurting your bottom line more than you
think.

 

For more thought-provoking HR tweets, be sure to follow Tom, Kelly, Meghan, and Lydia – along with Brandemix and my personal Twitter, of course. And if you know of more HR Twitters worth following, drop me a line.

The Week’s Most Important HR Tweets

I follow some great HR accounts on Twitter which are always sharing the latest news and innovations in talent acquisition, retention, benefits, and related topics. I retweet as many of these insights as I can, but sometimes the gems get buried in the constant stream of news. So here, in the relaxed atmosphere of BRANDEblog, I thought I’d share some of the week’s most important HR tweets.


A number of major HR thought leaders, including host of the HR Happy Hour Show 
Steve Boese, were tweeting their answers to the question Who Does Your LinkedIn Profile Belong To? This post, by Jessica Lee on the terrific Fistful of Talent blog, brought up the issue that, since HR professionals are the face of their companies, their LinkedIn profiles should use the same branding, language, and voice that their companies do. But some HR personnel resist, believing that their LinkedIn profiles are personal and that their companies have no say in the matter. It’s an interesting debate that’s still happening on Twitter. Where do you stand?

Both HR Bartender author Sharlyn Lauby and Leute Management Systems CEO Tom Bolt tweeted about Steve Boese’s article, Disconnect: When What You Offer Is Not What They Want. Steve points out that a company’s benefits don’t always match employee needs. He gives the example that the main obstacle employees give for relocation is their spouse’s work situation. Yet the most frequently offered relocation benefit offered by companies is moving expenses assistance, which doesn’t address that obstacle at all. His solution? “Actually ASK the constituencies that they are trying to serve and support what is important to them.” I agree. Why conduct surveys like the one Steve cites if you’re going to ignore the results? As an HR professional, you owe it to your employees to ensure that management interprets the surveys in the right way.

HR professional Melissa Fairman (known as HrRemix on Twitter) tweeted about a fascinating article she wrote called Down With Work-Life Balance. In it, she prefers the term “work-life integration,” with the goal of harmonizing employees’ careers with their personal lives. Many workdays aren’t “balanced” at all, as employees either stay late at the office or do personal tasks on company time. Melissa argues that companies should give their employees more control over their time, and customize schedules and workloads for each individual. “Integration helps an employee understand themselves and their optimal working environment, and in the best scenario, employees can make informed decisions and work directly with their managers/teams,” she says. Do some of your employees blend personal and work tasks? Then they’re “classic integrators” and should have their work-life balance re-evaluated.

For more thought-provoking HR tweets, be sure to follow Steve, Jessica, Sharlyn, Tom, and Melissa – along with Brandemix and my personal Twitter, of course. And if you know of more HR Twitters worth following, drop me a line.