The problem with the Facebook algorithm is that it optimizes for user engagement, without bothering to consider whether that engagement is positive or negative. Content that we find deceptive and/or outrageous causes us (or me at least) to immediately begin typing furious responses, which causes the algorithm to serve up more of that sweet, sweet … Continue reading How To Fix Facebook: Let Us Dislike
The incentive structure of social media is broken. Every day, I encounter posts that rely on erroneous journalism, make factual assertions without evidence, or straight up cite made-up numbers. Every day, I laboriously click through links and use Google to find the underlying studies, and correct the errors. But it takes me 10X the amount … Continue reading The Forces Fighting For Facts Need More Help
I finally got around to trying out the Dataclysm “Relationship Test”. The theory is that your spouse or partner should be one of your closest connections (more on this later). What’s interesting to me is how my Facebook network reflects the key networks in my life. The biggest cluster of connections is what I call … Continue reading The Dataclysm (Facebook) Relationship Test
Headlines have become more and more important because of social media. Once upon a time, headlines were critical because they helped persuade news stand passers-by to buy newspapers. Now of course, most people are likely to ask, “What’s a news stand? What’s a newspaper?” Nonetheless, the importance of headlines remains. The headline is what convinces … Continue reading Have We Reached Peak Headline?
I have never been an avid Facebook user. Quick posts and personal notes have never been my metier; my Twitter feed essentially acts as an RSS feed of my posts and a commenting system. But recently, I’ve come to realize that the secret to Facebook is content. Specifically, Facebook is the first medium that provides … Continue reading The Secret to Facebook is Content
The contretemps of the day comes courtesy of TechCrunch, where Professor Vivek Wadhwa has published a guest post addressing a Twitter debate he had with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (now how’s that for meta?): http://tcrn.ch/GD0570 The controversy began with a quote that Wadhwa provided to the New York Times for a story on sexism in … Continue reading The Hidden Assumptions That Neuter Criticism in Silicon Valley
With the rise of social media, the humble headline has become a big business. In the fraction of a second that a consumer sees a headline, that person makes the decision whether or not to click. Entire fortunes have been built on that fraction of a second. Entire companies like Buzzfeed and Upworthy have been … Continue reading What Are The 3 Scientific Rules For Writing Viral Headlines?
Q: What do you get when journalists get paid by the number of pageviews their stories generate? A: The Troll economy. Not to sound like a grumpy old man (though I am) but what passes for journalism has sunk to a new low. As far as I can tell, headlines are now chosen based on … Continue reading The Troll Economy
It’s impossible to argue a point on Twitter without leaving an opening for debate. It simply isn’t possible to lay out a nuanced argument that addresses the main potential objections in less than 140 characters. As a result, any tweet can be debated. In some ways, this is bad, because it further contributes to our … Continue reading Twitter is a Debate Machine
Amazing writing from Olympia Nelson, an 11th grader: From the moral high ground, they can damn a girl for visual promiscuity, yet enjoy the spectacle at the same time, both with the same misogynistic motives: I like your form but I’m able to scorn you. You’re what I want but you’re less than me. Girls … Continue reading “Social media doesn’t need adult control. What we need is some good taste.”