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Twifficiency: Lessons from the latest social media phenomenon

18th Aug 2010
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Those of you who have been tweeting over the last 24 hours will be well aware of Twifficiency, a new service that has swept across the Twitterverse at a rate of knots. 

The simple service claims to calculate "your Twitter efficiency based upon your Twitter activity" and is the sort of thing social media geeks love finding out.

It started to appear on the social networking plarform this morning and very quickly Twitter streams were filled with users' Twifficiency rates:

But also very quickly, users began getting frustrated with how many updates were being posted; me included!

Frustration about the number of tweets soon turned into a realisation that the results were being tweeted without most people's knowledge. The service was automatically posting the statistics without asking permission as is usual. Accusations starting flying about with many calling Twifficiency a scam:

But a simple check at reveals it's highly unlikely to be a scam. The service is something a 17-year-old Dundee-based IT developer James Cunningham has created as a little bit of fun.

Not so long ago, such a service would only have reached the eyes and ears of a very niche group of IT fans but in the modern of world of social media, James has discovered that when launching anything - even something you don't intend to be a commercial business - you've got to be prepared for the feedback - both positive and negative - and test and test again.

James' service was so talked about it became one of the most tweeted phrases on Twitter:

James has started to respond to angry users and look into correcting the problem but one particular tweet from him reflects how the business world has changed:

Believe me James, the most unexpected of things do catch on nowadays and while in reality no real harm has been done, the young entrepreneur's Twifficiency experience should serve as a lesson to all that new business news doesn't travel fast in the 21st century; it travels very fast.

UPDATE (1445):

It's not all about hard lessons for James Cunningham. He has clearly shown an entrepreneurial spirit which at such a young age is very admirable. He could even get a new job out of it!

Dan Martin is editor of, and moderates the Web 2.0 discussion group. Follow Dan on Twitter.  

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