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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Thoughts on idea and use complexity

To me before there was the notion of finding the great idea which could be complicated, but these days more and more think simple ideas rule where more important is great implementation. So I think idea complexity is a big deal, and can talk with some big name modern examples.

Like consider Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram where have focused on social media that I routinely use. Sorry SnapChat, not there yet with you but suspect will get to it eventually.

And Twitter has extreme simplicity at its heart which is a short burst message. That is not a complex concept. And Facebook at its heart is a way to "friend" people for messages. While Google+ lets you add people to your circles. And Instagram is a way to post pictures.

Before taking over the world I suspect if you'd claim to someone, say, in the 20th century that such simple concepts could so dominate they'd have laughed at you. Ok, maybe not laughed, but probably looked puzzled. Back then I know as was around back then, was more the notion of complex and powerful ideas. But we see reality of simple and powerful ideas.

Here's one of my favorite Tweets from Twitter celebrating the concept:
Which to me says so much.

It also highlights a reality that simple concepts can have levels of complexity though, as made use of whitespace to construct a structure versus putting all flat.

And Twitter actually has done a lot to let users get creative, including ways around limits on total words, where they use pictures with words in them, as pictures are allowed to be posted. That actually means I think that use complexity of Twitter is actually rather high as SO many ways to use it, even within its simple limits.

In contrast Facebook while seemingly broader in use, has I think less actual use complexity. Where I've felt that the company actually pushes people to use it in certain ways which means less to figure out! And may help explain rapid adoption.

But for instance, Facebook for a long time only let you "Like" something. Which I think was brilliant, and has only recently expanded how you do so, as it carefully raises use complexity.

In contrast, Google+ has am guessing some of the greatest use complexity of any social media though hard to characterize. And I find myself focusing on the concept of circles as powerful, but also gives an extraordinary amount of possibly complicated ways to use. And I've seen people usually just stick with a couple, myself included. And you have few limits on how you communicate, which I think fits with the philosophy of the parent company. But I think use complexity greatly slows adoption.

While Instagram has a simple concept, and is simple to use. And am not surprised is now controlled by Facebook, which am sure will keep it that way. And yes, plenty of people also find ways to increase use complexity on Instagram, for instance with photos with words, but even then, tend to use simply.

To me ideas are SO much fun. And ideas about ideas are meta-ideas and do find I go meta a lot, which is because I enjoy peeking behind the curtains of the show which is our ever more interesting reality.

Here have used idea complexity and use complexity as core concepts to explore some modern social media companies, with hypotheses about how usage can vary based on them.

Which is wild in a way, as am suggesting SIMPLE ideas, so low idea complexity helped lead to the dominance of certain social media, while usage complexity, can help explain their current total user numbers.

Twitter is in my opinion very complicated to actually use BEST, despite its simplicity in many ways. With Google+ which I prefer to call G+ coming in next. Followed by Facebook and then by Instagram, which I think has the lowest usage complexity.

But Facebook is the biggest in terms of total users, followed by G+, then by Instagram, and then Twitter.

Does that ruin my hypothesis then? I don't think so, as it gives me more room to ponder. But enough done already for one post! So will end here.


James Harris
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