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Twifficiency – blink and you’ll hate it

Anyone noticed the extremely rapid feedback loop currently circling Twifficiency. “In a nut shell, Twifficiency calculates your twitter efficiency based upon your twitter activity”. So basically it’s yet another tool that analyses your Twitter profile. Yay!

Anyway, what I found interesting isn’t the tool itself, but the sheer speed of how it was first picked up by Twitter, how it then pissed off Twitter, and how it is now incurring the wrath of Twitter. Within the menagerie of people wot I follow, I first became aware of Twifficiency when at 11:02 Beth tried it out, and at 11:04 Beth scolded it for its spammy auto-posting of your score. That’s two minutes, and is fairly indicative of the feelings of many others. Of course, many Twitter users simply do not care, but many do, and were quick to signpost the pitfalls of putting your details into Twifficiency, such as James Whatley:

Any way, this whole micro-phenomena interests me because this kind of instant feedback is not possible in any other form of media. I’d be really interested to hear what the chap behind Twifficiency think of the explosion of interest, and of the criticism. Interestingly, he’s been quiet so farUPDATE: James the developer has just tweeted this: “I will sort out the twifficiency auto-tweeting when I get home. Unless anybody know a PHP editor for iPhone ;)”

SECOND UPDATE: since this post was first written, James gained a great deal of attention, was extremely open about his goals for Twifficiency, and has attracted significant praise. This blog post from Paul Clark does a better job than me in telling his side of things.

So, what do you think of Twifficiency?

This post was filed under Current work, Social media, Working culture Comments are currently closed.


  1. VictoriaJane

    The Twifficiency creator’s comment that “it wasnt mean to be used by this many people” illustrates another interesting characteristic of this form of media;how rapidly the distance between intention and outcome can grow. It’s a powerful accelerator. He also says (and I believe him) that “nothing I ever do catches on”- so he wasn’t worried. I bet this is the first time that he has accidentally stumbled upon something that plays to our natural narcissism.

    Posted 17th August 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink
  2. Ross

    Really interesting point Victoria – feel bad for him as like you say he obviously wasn’t expecting this. Makes me feel bad for writing a critical blog post, as I know how frustrating it can be when your work is used in the wrong way and then criticized based on criteria you hadn’t considered.

    Posted 17th August 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink
  3. VictoriaJane

    I thought your post was interesting and valid Ross -and you weren’t critival of the developer per se. It just made me think about the gap between intention and outcome and how tools like Twitter impact the distance between them – for a lot of things.

    Posted 17th August 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
  4. The thing I find really amazing about this is that:

    _ James is only 17 yrs old
    _ as of yesterday, Twifficiency had more users than there are people living in Dundee (his home).
    _ people in our ‘industry’ are already talking about offering him a job.

    Regardless of how badly people have reacted to Twifficiency’s slip-up (and I do think it’s an over-reaction, that the ‘echo-chamber’ seems to be prone to) it’s clearly paying off for him.

    And, as you hint at above, if we’ve really got the time and inclination to measure our twitter efficiency…

    Posted 18th August 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink
  5. *cough* Clarke :)

    Posted 15th February 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

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  2. By Annoyed by auto-tweeting, again | Web 2.1 on 17th August 2010 at 2:18 pm

    [...] particular example, except to say that its author has [sort of]  apologised. It’s already been blogged anyway if you’re [...]