Last night I had a bit of an epiphany and uninstalled Twitter from my tablet. I haven’t deleted my accounts or anything, I’ve just removed it as a possible “go to”. However, this wasn’t because, like many people, I’m starting to resent the distraction it causes but rather I’m starting to think I just don’t like the offer.
My grumbles centre on “algorithmic curation” i.e. the service decides what I’m interested in and promotes items in my news feed. The problem is that these algorithms don’t work on me. I don’t follow more than about 50 accounts on ANY service I use. There just isn’t enough data for these algorithms to make meaningful decisions on and so, to me, it’s totally arbitrary. That ruins the experience for me.
I mainly use social media to keep in touch with people that share my interests but that I don’t know personally. In the past I would have used forums for that sort of thing. Forums have become extremely tedious in recent years. There is so much risk of offence or upset in the face of poor wording or tone. Social media doesn’t seem to be blighted by that problem. It’s accepted that you’re stating an opinion and that opinion is your own. Having an opinion on a forum is a recipe for disaster.
Timeline curation was one of two things that ultimately pushed me away from Facebook. I just didn’t have confidence I could actually see everything my friends were saying, or that anyone was even seeing what I was posting. What an awful system. This morning I’m reading that Instagram is planning a similar approach. Apparently “the average user misses 70 percent of posts” so they think curation is important. I must be way below average then because I can not login to Instagram for a few days and catch up on every post in a few minutes. In that sense I don’t think curation on Instagram will be that much of an issue for me. There really is nothing to curate.
I’ve actually just logged in to Twitter to get an idea of just who I am following and, lo, the new timeline was just switched on for me. “Tweets you are likely to care about most will show up first in your timeline,” goes the claim. I think not.