Tinkering with tools: Asessing Asana


Asana - making genuine collaboration possible or generalising team confusion?

Asana – making genuine collaboration possible or generalising team confusion?

It’s been ages since the last ‘Tinkering with tools‘ post, so after posts about Yammer, LinkedIn and Prezi, it’s time to turn to one of the (expected) collaboration rising stars: Asana.

Asana is a team-centric virtual collaboration tool which allows collective task management, setting up structured team meetings and more. It certainly could be considered as one of the solutions against collective apathy in the workplace. It certainly weighs as a good alternative to SharePoint (SP) given the criticism SP has met, especially when used as a KM tool or as a community collaboration platform.

In any case, PC Mag rated Asana one of the best productivity apps on the market.

Here’s what Asana has to say about itself now (video). This other video below was the original introduction piece by the Asana team (from three years ago)

Now, I’ve been using Asana for the past seven months in a small team (five people) connected to a larger group of colleagues. You will be able to read more about this on our knowledge management ‘Maarifa’ blog soon. This post is actually a great way to synthesise our thinking back about our ILRI experience with Asana. But here I want to offer a more detached and generic ‘tinkering with tools’ perspective on Asana.

What does it look like and how does it work?

Asana comes as a desktop browser or a smartphone/tablet app; it is compatible with iOS and Android only for the time being. Once you have created a user account you can set up or join organizations, teams within those organizations and ‘projects’. Under projects you can add tasks, sub-activities into each of these tasks; then you can assign people, due dates, add comments to each other’s tasks etc. The task overview is all transparent and keeps all tasks in one place – well, sort of, read on…

The structure of the app is:

  • On the left hand pane you find a full list of workspaces. It gives an overview of all organizations, teams and projects, as well as access to your inbox, access to the dashboard (monitoring progress) and other admin options etc.
  • The central pane focus on your next tasks and, if you select a specific project, on all the tasks in that project (not just yours then).
  • The right hand pane focuses in detail on the project or task you want to investigate. When you select a project to focus on, it gives you information about the status, tasks accomplished/remaining. When you select a specific task, it provides details about that task: who is in charge, due date, as well as comments made. This is where conversations take place and allow someone to find out what happened – if your team makes use of that functionality.

You can also organize meetings using Asana (following this video tutorial) and since the last quarter of 2014 you can use the new ‘dashboard’ to keep track of progress with the tasks, with weekly status update reminders. It also gives an option to visualise what has been delivered, what remains etc. offering thus very good collective management features.

The strategic value proposition behind this app is that Asana can replace (parts of) email traffic to work togetherTeamwork without email. Something that many of us dream of – which I’ve also offered useful alternatives for.

The free version works for teams of up to 30 users and the pricing options are fairly affordable. There are various additional apps and extensions (find it here) to expand the use of Asana in various ways.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Asana provides a really nice overview of tasks – making it indeed quite easy to find out in a glance what is on the agenda of a team and how much has been in each project and for each task.
  • As it promises, Asana can really cut down your email traffic, which clears time for more quality time on other bits of work. Although in our case we actually used Yammer mostly to communicate, not Asana.
  • The progress tracking (dashboard) functionality really adds to that experience and turns Asana into a monitoring tool without the fuss of installing all the whistles and bells of a heavyweight management tool.
  • Technically it is possible to run meetings using Asana, dragging and dropping the tasks onto the agenda of the meeting, making it easier to keep all team information in one place – however read some of the cons re: this feature below… 
  • It keeps all your to-do’s in one place if you want it to play that role. And adding tasks or to-do’s is indeed ‘simple comme bonjour‘ and it’s just as easy to assign tasks to people…
  • The calendar integration with Outlook and Google Calendar makes the planning / overview of tasks even easier. 
  • Although the app is quite complex, it does not take too much time to understand how to use it, at least for a knowledge management specialist 😉
  • It certainly has worked for me to keep track of the main ‘to-do’s and to find out what the rest of my team is supposedly up to.

Cons:

  • Compared with e.g. Yammer, or Twitter, which both felt very natural for me to master, I found the interface of Asana a bit ‘messier’ and less compelling, skewing my first impression and making the navigation slightly confusing at very first.
  • That design also seems to not really guide new users very well. I have used it in a team of communication and knowledge management specialists – ie. people whose job it also is to try and test new tools like these, rather enthusiastic and versatile at piloting and adopting such tools – so it may be a slightly more difficult process for people who are not used to online tools.
  • Although Asana allows file sharing and uploading, it is not really built for it and is thus not a great file management system, although on the plus side it seems it can easily be integrated with Dropbox or Google Drive (as you can see from the list of compatible apps). I haven’t tried that option, however.
  • The search engine and navigation logic make finding content a bit of a trial and error process. For instance once tasks have been completed, it becomes uneasy to retrieve them. Tagging helps with this, but not everyone is used to tagging and some taxonomy/folksonomy needs to be established to make this work.
  • The team meeting feature did really not work well for me. I tried to follow the video tutorial but somehow Asana didn’t behave accordingly – perhaps because the interface changed since the video. But it’s probably worth another try.
  • There is no ‘live chat’ feature, although the stream of comments acts like one but always within the context of a given task, not as a general conversation space.
  • Asana does not work well in environments with limited bandwidth (such as my Ethiopian base) and the fact that there is no offline option does not play in favour of using this tool in many developing country. Although, frankly, using virtual conferencing tools is even more of an issue here.
On the quest to the holy grail of synergy in collaboration (Credits: venessamiemis / FlickR)

On the quest to the holy grail of synergy in collaboration (Credits: venessamiemis / FlickR)

 

The verdict

I have only quite limited experience with other team/project management tools (e.g. BaseCamp and some Gantt chart tools). Bearing that in mind, I think Asana is certainly worth a shot and has quite a lot going for it. It is easy enough that it does not require an incredibly steep learning curve, although you will need to train users to make the most of all its interesting features that take the Asana experience to the next level. But mind the bandwidth requirements and perhaps most importantly the behaviour of your colleagues/team before you consider using it: if they’re curious, playful, you stand a good chance, otherwise it may be difficult to get it adopted. And finally, as ever with tools: make sure you pilot it, reflect upon your pilot and decide whether to scale it up or not accordingly. So far in my team there seem to be fewer enthusiastic folks than skeptical ones…

As many of the tools around, Asana keeps changing, coming up with more developments, extensions, changes of navigating and using logic etc. This is positive as it means the company is trying to stay on top of its game, but of course it always means that your team also needs to keep abreast of Asana’s adjustments.

Perhaps most importantly, however, because Asana is team-centric it requires some collective agreement to work with it. Individuals in the team have to adapt their behaviour, stick to the discipline of managing their tasks and time, which may be perfectly normal and expected in North America, but not necessarily in other parts of the world…

So the question is perhaps not even so much about the tools we use to collaborate (we know that the tool obsession is childish), but more about the practices that come with the tools, and we have much to do on the collaboration and engagement front still… And finally, if tried in a true online environment (for meetings), I still wonder if Asana will help alleviate the evils of ‘acute meetingitis virtuales‘?

That said, assess Asana for yourself and let me know what you think… 😉

More resources about Asana

  • A recent (November 2014) PC Mag review provides detailed overviews of the most recent features, pricing options etc.
  • This tutorial from Ananda Web Services is a bit dated (December 2012) but it is about the most complete one available online
  • Of course Asana itself has lots of tutorials and information about using its product – you can start with videos here. They have also released this interesting (long) video about the vision behind Asana when it was publicly launched in 2011.
  • And finally here is what DotToTech has to say about Asana in January 2013. I put it here because it’s quite a nice introduction to the logic of Asana and how it worked in the case of one team.

What are your experiences with Asana?

See the whole collection of ‘Tinkering with tools‘ posts...

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Tinkering with tools: (Pretty) Easy Prezi


Prezi the (really not so) new cool presentation tool

Prezi the (really not so) new cool presentation tool

Prezi is a presentation tool. An alternative to Powerpoint. It has been around for a while now (four years), and I hadn’t used it since 2010 when, among others, I was wondering ‘What is learning?‘ but current circumstances at work have brought me back to using it again – as testified in one recent blog post on partnerships.

This time it’s not so much for my own use (I tend to facilitate events a lot more than present anything at those events) as for my colleagues’ use, so this ‘Tinkering with tools‘ post is about Prezi, some resources about them and a couple of tips to enrich one’s experience with it.

So what is Prezi?

Prezi is a dynamic presentation tool that is built in a totally different logic to Powerpoint. Let’s examine closely the differences between the two:

Powerpoint

Prezi

Series of interconnected slides following one path – ‘Slide’ logic, whereby the slide is the playing field Canvas offering a navigation pathway amidst an infinity of other ones – Canvas logic where the whole canvas is the playing field – it is possible to step out of the indicated ‘pathway’ to look at any element on the canvas
Lecture-like experience ‘a la overhead sheet’ though can be used very strongly (the tool is never the problem, the tool user can be) Dynamic exploration-like experience where the user is invited to discover a brave new world
Possibility to emphasise certain elements with animations or formatting (bold, colour etc.) Few formatting options (3 types of fonts though colours possible) but endless possibility to emphasise elements by scaling them up or down, adding dynamics to the presentation
Many animations possible in the slide (if used well, one of the powerful features of PPT) Some animations possible but mostly animation happening between sequences of text e.g. nesting images into images into images
Possibility to embed images, videos, audio etc. Possibility to embed images, videos, audio etc. AND Powerpoint presentations
Risk of putting too much text in and to bore the audience OR risk of putting too many animations in and to annoy the audience ‘Death by Powerpoint Risk of putting too many transitions and movements in and to get the audience sea-sick ‘vertigo by Prezi
Embedding in websites happens through prior uploading on e.g. Slideshare Embedding in websites directly (though via a rather not so straightforward logic for WordPress sites)
Software used from the client’s PC Online, or pay-for – free 30-day trial – desktop application

If this doesn’t help you visualise what I mean, perhaps you might want to take a look at this example:

Now let’s have a look at some useful ways to build Prezis, from my experience…

Practical tips and tricks?

First off, focus on three things:

  1. your story (the content and logic of it),
  2. the storyboard of that story (e.g. what element will you disclose one by one, flanked by what possible visuals and other media etc.)
  3. and finally how will you plot these onto your canvas. It is really crucial to think about this because the prezi will be used all the more as you incorporate a strong story in a smart way of using the canvas.

This means that once you’ve got these elements figured, you should plot (i.e. add, write, upload, include) all these elements of text, visuals, audio and video bits more or less where you want to put them on your canvas. Your use of the canvas and of Prezi’s navigation logic is what makes the difference between a good prezi and an excellent prezi. Then you can scale them differently to hide them a bit for an element of surprise.

Prezi is not Powerpoint, so don’t build a Prezi the way you would a Powerpoint. Forget about overview slides, forget about animations on slide, and certainly forget about the biggest mistakes in building and delivering (death by) Powerpoint e.g. having too much text to read, adding useless visuals which don’t strengthen your point etc.

On the other hand, use the strength of Prezi: move around, scale in and out, turn the text, play with the canvas and with details in it (e.g. nest an image in the dot of an ‘i’ or in the brain of a person in the picture), use a visual as your canvas and move around, get a hang of options with the templates offered, think for yourself and try a story canvas that suits your style and your needs. It can be a blank canvas, a pre-existing template, a picture…

However, here are also some other tips to avoid shooting yourself in the foot with your innovative prezi (at the risk of putting your audience off Prezi for a while):

  • Even on a prezi, too long a presentation can bore your audience. Time yourself and avoid speaking over 10 minutes
  • Scaling in and out is great but doing too much of it really gives vertigo. Spend some time talking over each ‘bit of text’ rather than moving straight into the next bit, to allow your audience to find its balance and sense again and to avoid vertigo
  • Use pictures not in a Powerpoint slide kind of way but rather embedding the text in the picture or vice versa, or show the picture after or before the text
  • Add different kinds of media (e.g. video) to also time your presentation and give space for your audience to stabilise its senses
  • Keep a consistent use of fonts and colours to give a sense of balance to your presentation
  • At all times, keep your story in mind. As much as early Powerpoint presentations used all kinds of animations and lost the plot (and the audience), Prezis are cool only if they strengthen the point, not dilute it.

As you can see, I also need to explore Prezi to improve my own style since my 2010 attempts.

Some more resources about Prezi:

Related blog posts:

Tinkering with tools: LinkedIn, where networking and problem-solving gets professional


Who uses LinkedIn and how (Source: Lab42)

Who uses LinkedIn and how (Source: Lab42)

LinkedIn is a popular social network and it has been around for a while. Most people know about it. And yet most people don’t seem to really know what to do with it. LinkedIn the opaque social network? So what about LinkedIn? Let’s look at three aspects of LinkedIn: its functionalities (what it offers to do), its community (who it is made of) and its conversations (its engagement dynamics). Functionalities LinkedIn has been a popular tool early on because it clearly addresses the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) factor: help you find a job. The service started as a ‘CV online’ service. The web 2.0 wave which brought Facebook and Twitter to the  limelight urged LinkedIn to mark its ‘professional’ orientation, to fend off criticism about the futile nature of (other) social media. LinkedIn has thus become a professional social networking site which features:

  • The profile, where you present typical CV information, including groups and associations (see below), awards and a series of widgets (e.g. your Twitter updates, blog posts, Slideshare presentations etc.);
  • Recommendations – which you can give or solicit (the reason why I hopped on the LinkedIn train originally), as a nice way to collect nice and useful feedback;
  • A list of your contacts (see ‘the community’ below);
  • A status update right under the profile, which can be connected to a Twitter (or – I assume – a Facebook) account;
  • messaging system which combines direct (email-like) messaging and invitations to connect with new contacts;
  • Groups and networks (see ‘the conversation’ below);
  • ‘Answers’ (Questions and answers which people post, about content – so not really a FAQ);
  • Network statistics that tell you how many direct, 2nd and 3rd degree connections, most popular regional and industry connections that you have;
  • Statistics on your account: who has viewed your profile in the past period, how many times you appeared in search etc.
  • Jobs – a section to help you find or advertise a job;
  • A company directory/search function;
  • News and additional features such as events, polls, and all other ‘beta-phase’ features and a useful LinkedIn learning center to find help on LinkedIn;

The premium (pay-for) features allow you additionally to: sort your most important connections, enjoy additional statistics (location, industry of people that viewed your profile etc.) and a few more features which I don’t know (I have a simple account).

The community

LinkedIn has at least three communities that might interest you here: a) Your contacts, b) the community surrounding your contacts, c) the wider list of contacts.

It is very easy and intuitive to expand your list of contacts by connecting with people that you might know on the basis of joint history or just on a whim (although LinkedIn luckily doesn’t make it too easy to connect if you haven’t had prior contact with another person, and therefore requests you to fill the email address of the person you want to connect with). LinkedIn builds upon the serendipity factor by suggesting ‘people you may know’ on the basis of shared connections (remember the six degrees of separation?). The wider list of contacts forms a basis for e.g. finding a job, subcontracting some work to people you can rely upon or engage in fruitful conversations, which is perhaps the most interesting part of LinkedIn.

The conversation

LinkedIn allows conversations in various ways. The simplest form is through the messenging service that it offers between LinkedIn users (whether direct contacts or not), or through the status update, but the most powerful ways to converse are through the ‘Answers’ service and particularly through LinkedIn group discussions.

Answers are an older functionality where people can seek answers on topics that matter to them.

Another level of conversation however is through the many groups that one can join, related to a specific industry. Not all groups are active but those that are (usually based on a rather large group) can offer brilliant insights. You can ask questions by either starting a discussion or a poll, join ongoing discussions, mention what answers you like from those given, promote an event (or something else)… All in all group conversations are great as they connect you to very effective communities of practice and are likely to reap very interesting insights.

So what to make of LinkedIn from a KM perspective? 

The primary objective and perhaps strength of LinkedIn remains its job focus. However the conversations that take place on groups and the wide array of answers given are good arguments to develop a LinkedIn presence as a KM-focused organisation or professional wishing to engage in peer conversations, networking and problem-solving. If KM is considered to amplify conversations that matter for your job, then LinkedIn is a good complement in your KM apparel, particularly to engage with networks on your edges – but the documentation (and generally information management side) marks the limitations of LinkedIn as a KM tool.

Here is a short review of some positive aspects and some considerations to keep in mind to make the LinkedIn experience more worthwhile…

Positive aspects:

  • Group discussions, which bring you with like-minded individuals that you would not come across so easily otherwise and give rich insights to specific areas of interest;
  • Asking and answering questions, although this service competes with Quora;
  • The recommendations which add direct benefits to a CV and to one’s experience;
  • The easy network expansion which puts you in touch with people you know or might want to know;
  • The mobile version of the tool which works really nicely with instant access to all features including group conversations.

Possible points for improvement or considerations:

  • On groups there is no wiki or other repository of the conversation results so it comes down to individual members to volunteer to document a discussion;
  • The limited customisation means that LinkedIn cannot really become a central block of a ‘branded’ KM presence;
  • The job-seeking features are perhaps not ripe in all countries – outside the US, how many countries really pay close attention to the LinkedIn profile of applicants?

Hereby a selection of recent interesting readings and references about LinkedIn:

Related blog posts:

Tinkering with tools: What’s up with Yammer?


Perhaps as part of this new-year-new-ideas frenzy, I am starting a new type of posts, next to the series of shoot-posts, the ‘Tinkering with tools’ (TwT) series will not be so much technical as oriented towards the user experience of tools: how we use and adapt social tools to fit our practice.

In this first TwT, the case of Yammer is under the magnifier.

Yammer is the new rage – the corporate social network has been gaining a lot of recognition and users in 2011 and seems stronger than ever. In my new organisation – the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which is part of a broader network of research centres called the Collaborative Group on International Agricultural Centre (CGIAR), we are also using Yammer. Time to zoom in on the theory and practice behind Yammer.

Yammer: rad or fad?

Yammer: rad or fad?

At first sight, Yammer has the look and feel of Facebook (same blue and white scheme and definitely more feature options than on Twitter + the ubiquitous ‘Like’ option)  and some of the functioning logic of Twitter (a lot of micro-blogging, use of @ to link to a person and of # to relate to a topic). It is not yet very clear to me to what extent the CGIAR as a whole is pushing for Yammer as an enterprise-wide social network or whether Yammer has just evolved organically to the discretion of each CG centre. In any case on the CGIAR network (let alone related project networks) there are over 1300 members (out of an estimated 15.000?), over 80 groups and over 10.000 messages have been posted since the adoption of the social network some three years ago I believe. It is not insignificant. And it makes the practice all the more important.

What to make of the tool?

I never used Yammer before joining ILRI and frankly, being a Twitter and Facebook user, I found Yammer super easy to grow into – although I can totally imagine that this is not the case for everyone, particularly if they don’t work on knowledge management and social media ha ha. Then again every tool should be explored by every user to find out if it suits their style and practices. And there is nothing wrong with deciding – after careful exploration – that a tool doesn’t work for us. From my experience, here are some useful and not so useful features of Yammer…

What’s good about Yammer

What’s not so helpful on Yammer

  • The micro-blogging feature which makes it very easy to read and share a lot of information with a wide set of audiences (different closed groups and open networks)
  • The ‘like’ and ‘reply’ functionalities which provide crucial feedback on what we post
  • The topics which allow grouping of all posts under one heading
  • The simplicity of finding people by typing their name (@)
  • The automatic link image display which urges to click on the links posted
  • Contrary to e.g. frequent use of Facebook, there really is more focus on workplace matters, which makes it easy to filter out junk noise
  • The ‘leaderboards’ feature which stimulates positive competition to have more posts or responses etc. (an avatar of the knowledge ego-log
  • The default notification settings which tend to clog the inbox and require careful attention for new users if they are to use this tool
  • The limited tag functionalities: only most popular topics are displayed and it’s not possible to rename a topic to an existing topic (to bring all posts under inconsistent topics under one topic heading). Topics can also not be used in groups
  • The limited functionalities of pages – no possibility to paste tables etc.
  • The fact that – and this is not specific to Yammer – it takes time for people to follow and be followed, which means a lot of messages might not reach intended audiences.

So where are we now? There is still a lot of potential for Yammer to grow within the CGIAR and that means a lot of awareness-raising, coaching, training to make sure people feel comfortable with the tool. It also means a lot of feedback (see this post on the power of feedback) to ensure good practices. And, sure, not everyone is on it, not everyone is a super active user but we hear that many silent users actually enjoy reading their newsfeed and digests. At any rate, Yammer at ILRI is way more effective for sharing information than any intranet I’ve been given to check or use in the past 10 years. In addition, ILRI and the wider CG system have implemented a few useful practices to make the Yammer experience richer to all:

  • Developing a tailored page on ‘Yammer essentials’ which helps any newcomer find some good practices and useful settings (e.g. turning off a lot of email notifications, updating profile, indicating what centre they are part of etc.);
  • Offering ongoing training and coaching for individuals and teams, to avoid letting people in the dark and giving up early on;
  • Making extensive use of @ to alert concerned people when they are mentioned in the network – to stimulate them to at least follow the buzz on the network, if not update regularly;
  • Connecting Yammer to all the blogs and wikis and websites around our CG centres as and when relevant to make Yammer the ‘reflector/connector of choice’;
  • And recently developing a bespoke application (it is possible when asking Yammer) to integrate blog feeds into the ILRInet group, without affecting design – this option was available before but messed up the layouts really badly and made the blog posts’ text practically unreadable. This has been fixed by my colleague Zerihun Sewunet and it looks wonderful.

We are still learning with the tool but there seems to be some momentum. That said, of course there is room for improvement and the buzz on the internet around Yammer indicates that there is a lot to learn about Yammer and about how people might want to use it or not…

What of the buzz around the tool?

There’s been quite a few articles about Yammer in the past couple of years – here is a selection to find out what you think and to find better ways to use Yammer. First, why Deloitte staff love Yammer:

Related blog posts:

Twitter survey results: who tweets most (about work)?


The best evidence you can get is the one you go get yourself. Well, in theory anyway… But it certainly helps to get to first hand data.

I was recently wondering about all those quality tweeters that seem to really spend a lot of time posting excellent resources, asking good questions, answering others’, sharing the fun and passing the wisdom. Having to deal with many different pieces of work and projects at the organisation that employs me, I was wondering if they would have time, were they in my position. More broadly I was indeed wondering if those quality tweeters were not independent workers who may have more time and more reason to tweet about work as a way to get recognised, visible and turn tweets into opportunities for work. By contrast, employees, I assumed, may have more organisation-centric work to do…

One thing leading to another, and encouraged by Gauri Salokhe, to set up a poll about this, as a try-out I designed a very simple survey with just 3 questions:

  1. How many times per day do you tweet (on average)?
  2. What proportion of your tweets is for professional vs. personal purposes?
  3. Are you working as an employee, as an independent worker or else?

And I left a blank space for any additional comment or question.

Twitter users, inspired by Guy Kawasaki

One of the many typologies of Tweeters (image credits: GDS infographics)

19 respondents took part: 10 employees, 8 independents, 1 student – a very small sample I agree but it’s a try-out after all!

What I found out, trying this nifty survey app (TwtSurvey), is that unless you pay for a pro account, you cannot disaggregate the results and find out who answered what. Luckily I could check and report each answer as it came in and attribute it to either an employee or an independent worker (or else). But if you use this survey app, be aware of this caveat 😉

What are the results?

Some insights:

  • From the sample, what can we say about twittering volume? Respondent employees generally tweet 2 to 15 times per day (four do it 2 to 5 times, another four 6 to 15 times) while independents are rather very minimal tweeters (four of them twittering once per day or less) or abundant tweeters (three twittering 6 to 15 times and one over 26 times per day). In other words, employees are spread around the average, while independents are located on the extremes of twittering a lot – or not.
  • An overwhelming majority of employees actually tweet about their work: 7 out of 10 of them tweet overwhelmingly about work (75% or more, and 90% of them tweet about work more than about personal life). This is to be expected if one considers that social media by and large still have to convince at the work place and that using Twitter to send news about cooking recipes, holiday destinations or mood swings may not be seen as ‘appropriate behaviour’ (no judgment intended on my side here, I love good recipes and nice holiday tips). In contrast, independents span the full spectrum of professional vs. personal twittering with two of them for each of the segments (except 100% personal or 100% professional), so there isn’t much of a pattern among respondents from my sample.
  • 7 respondents left some comments and I just copy most here as they add some depth to the survey: Twitter is my most current and richest source of informationMy boss loves Twitter, so I started using it as per his request… I’m one of the older Tweeps at work. Suspect age has something to do with it as well… Reading my tweets and tweeting is the best part of my day!… I think my use of twitter really depends on how much time I have per day. Some days I am humming away while on others, more busy one, I don’t… IMO you need to engage in the personal to get the best out of the professional. There’s quite a bit of detail to delve into here.

So – from this short survey – we seem to have a rather homogeneous group of employees tweeting quite regularly and quite consistently about work, while we have independents following very different behaviours and either tweeting much or very little, about work but not only. Prolific work tweeters are employees, first and foremost…

Some concerns and potential biases:

  • Hey, with a sample of this size, the only claim you can make is to have potentially a seriously immense margin of error;
  • This survey falls very short of the depth that would be desirable: it would be great to find out when people tweet, where from, about what (among all their work duties), with whom? What kind of Twitter profile they have (see this short list of potential profiles: http://mashable.com/2009/08/14/social-mojo/) etc. and to delve into in-group specifics (among employees and them among independent workers)…
  • The boundaries I set for the amount of tweets is arbitrary and may not be right – giving confusing ideas about the patterns that come out. Anyone has better measures for these?
  • The perception of what represents work and what not may be more blurred in the case of home-based independent workers and that is just one extra layer to factor in…

Well, these are quite meagre results you might say, but this calls perhaps for a follow-up study, as there seems to be surprisingly little about recent twitter user demographics (Google query results) Anyone up for it?

The final results of the survey are available at: http://twtpoll.com/r/yl6n29