Getting prepared to deadlift 500 lbs! Image courtesy of Joint Base Lewis McChord on Twitter.

A weight lifter getting prepared to deadlift 500 lbs! Image courtesy of Joint Base Lewis McChord on Twitter.

It’s been about a year since Tim Ferriss’ latest book, 4-Hour Body, came out. The book was released to a large amount of fanfare, and even today, hovers around the top 200 books sold on Amazon.

Although focusing on body/nutrition/fitness optimization, Tim’s book has important implications for learning anything. In essence, his message is: cut the fat and extra bull when trying to learn something new and you’ll be rewarded.

So, with that message in mind, let’s dive into Tim’s book. This book review will be a little different than the other ones you may have read. Additionally, below you’ll find a nice surprise — a content/giveaway I’m running.

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Meditating and thinking about defaults!

Default options shape how people behave. Photo courtesy of janicebriggs3350 on Flickr.

Defaults are incredibly interesting. Behind every default choice on a major website is an angry room of people yelling at each other. “Why can’t we move the image up two pixels?!” a Product Manager may say while pounding her fist on the table. “We should move the image down two pixels!!!” a Strategy Analyst may counter. Then chimes in the VP of the Digital team, “why do we even need an image?”

For sites like Facebook and Twitter, defaults aren’t just interesting, they’re the lifeblood of the entire company. What a user first sees when they navigate to a website channels the user’s behavior and interaction with the site. In some instances, 95% of users don’t change or configure anything; they leave the page or application identical to how they found it.

Therefore, when Twitter launched their new homepage (their second homepage change in the past year), I was interested to examine the differences at a microscopic level: what changed, and what implications does this have for users navigating to twitter.com? Furthermore, an understanding of defaults may have dramatic effects on how you interact with pages online! Twitter isn’t the only company that does this: some of the most popular website you use–like Facebook, Google, ESPN, and Wikipedia–test defaults all the time. A lot of times they do this without you even noticing.

So, let’s dive in and explore the new Twitter homepage and see what’s changed.

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