The Twitter Feedback Challenge


First, a confession: I have no idea how to use Twitter. Actually, it scares me. What will happen if I put a hashtag before a phrase? What’s this about “retweeting”? What's the purpose of retweeting and where does it go? 

Prompted by a news story in which the commentator stated that Twitter is the best way to propagate a message across all social media, I decided to figure out how to use it.  

The other morning after breakfast, I logged onto my account (yes, I do have an account!). To my surprise and consternation, I discovered there are 20 people following me. Who knew? And what is my obligation to them? That doesn’t seem like a lot, but I have no idea how it happened!

But I digress, slightly. My theme for this post is actually how to give good feedback in 19 words or less.

Giving good feedback is an art. You want the receiver to clearly understand what is being asked for. Plus, your aim is to motivate them to succeed while offering just the right amount of challenge.

Apparently, Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame is considered a master tweeter. One of his tweets, about the successful launch and recovery of SpaceX’s first recycled rocket, has been touted as an example of  “what great communication looks like.”

What he wrote was this: “Incredibly proud of the SpaceX team for achieving this milestone in space! Next goal is reflight within 24 hours.”

Stimulated by a blog post by Justin Basiso about this tweet, I reflected on my personal criteria for effective feedback. Here they are, wrapped in an easy to remember acronym (CPA):

Concise: Think 19 words. You want to make it easy to absorb and to remember.

Precise: What do you want the receiver to do more of, specifically? (“…achieving this milestone in space”: That’s not bad but could be even more precise. But I assume he’d already clearly communicated what the intended milestone was.)

Aspirational: Motivate + Challenge = Aspirational (“Next goal is reflight within 24 hours” builds on success and sets the bar even higher.)

Next time you’re about to give someone feedback, whether it’s through Twitter or some other medium, keep these characteristics of effective feedback in mind.

Meanwhile, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I’ve got to get up to speed someday!