Monday, September 22, 2014

Twitter Switching to an Algorithm?

In class we have discussed how Facebook began using an algorithm to filter what a user sees and what a user doesn't see based on what they supposedly like.  While it keeps users from becoming overloaded and bored with their news feeds, it seriously inhibits users from obtaining information that may actually be quite relevant to the user despite what the algorithm thinks.  I often get status updates from friends that I am not particularly close to while some of my best friends are not included on my news feed.  Facebook maintains that this is the best way to keep users from getting bored with their news feeds and therefore bored with Facebook despite criticism the company has received.  Twitter has not begun using an algorithm like Facebook which is part of the reason why Twitter has gained so much popularity recently.  On Twitter, users see every post by all of the people they follow in reverse-chronological order.  Users, such as myself, really enjoy the fact that they can see everything posted and therefore there is no filter on the information available to them.  However, recently, Twitter has been considering switching to an algorithm just like the one Facebook uses.  The company's CFO hinted at it during a finance report meeting.  This has upset many of Twitter's loyal users.  The company says that there are benefits to using an algorithm such as keeping important news at the top of the news feed instead of getting buried at the bottom of the stack while the user is not on.  Personally, I think that Twitter should not change to an algorithm because then we lose much of what makes Twitter so popular.  The fact that I can see every tweet is what keeps me interested in Twitter while Facebook has become a big group forum for me and not much else.  If Twitter begins using an algorithm I will probably lose interest in in just like I lost interest in Facebook and I will begin looking for the next social media site that doesn't use an algorithm to limit my information.  We live in an information hungry world and that's why social media sites like Twitter and the old Facebook became popular.  When a social media site like Facebook limits, filters, and sorts this information for us, we not only lose the ability to decide for ourselves what is relevant and what is not, but we lose a lot of information in general.  I've posted the link to the website where I read the article where I got all of my additional information on Twitter's possible shift in information sorting below.  What do you all think?

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