“Algorithmic” timelines & social media, #RIPtwitter

The Slow Crumbling Death of Social Media

Today Twitter drove the final nail into the social media coffin. Twitter was the only wildly popular service which still presented a chronological timeline. Twitter does not make money, and they think the solution is to be more like facebook. Their mistake is that facebook is also not making any money from social media. Facebook makes money from unrelated “premium” content which they tack onto their social media product. Twitter does not offer that, so trying to copy Facebook is a sincerely foolish mistake. Their users have been telling them this for years as they’ve experimented blindly with various techniques to raise money, and they have ignored the wishes of their users, another serious faux pas.

For example I offer my own case. For the past 2 years I have been carefully pruning my tweets to ensure that what is left behind will be of some value, and representative of my mind and emotions. The chronological presentation of these tweets is critical to this effort. The new algorithm means something I posted 1 year ago might display today as if it were brand new while more recent tweets are lost in the noise. That is not the way I want my “micro-blogs” to be presented. In my case I saw the product that Twitter offered and I did something creative and soulfull with it, and in the flip of a switch Twitter has taken a giant shit all over my effort to embrace their product.

It is exactly the same as if you walked into a museum of art and decided to remove body parts from a statue and replace them in different spots because “trending data suggests people want to see arms where ears should be.” It’s thoughtless, short-sighted, and displays more disrespect for their own product than anything else. Their decision shows they have no faith in their service. If Twitter’s own executive board has no faith in their product then why should anyone else?

The people who run these social media “giants” are suit and tie business men who do not understand the culture of the internet, they don’t understand how it began or how it grew to where it is today, and they do not understand how their products fit into that culture. They don’t understand how people use their products and worse they’ve turned blind and deaf to user feedback. As corporate leaders, these people are the definition of failures. The continued crumbling of the social media “blogosphere” is proof.

All is not lost. It is increasingly simple to set up a personal blog site using free software, free of the controls of corporations like Facebook and Twitter. Thru the magic of RSS, a technology which predates social media and keeps control in the hands of the users, those corporations can be eliminated from the social media scene completely. The only roadblock has been ignorance to the available tools, but as social media users become more familiar with the internet and the kinds of technologies that it offers besides the World Wide Web, there will be wider adoption of protocols such as RSS. Indeed, that’s why you’re reading this post on tailpuff.net.

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