Tangent — Please Keep Twitter Wild. Let the Bird Fly Free

September 5, 2014

twitter personalizationIt is bound to end soon, because Twitter is bent on making big bucks. It was inevitable when they made their IPO. But the somewhat chaotic nature of timelines and hashtags is a good thing — read that: it draws a lot of people to Twitter who in turn shake and move things. Take it away, and those same people may go somewhere else for their serendipity fix. What am I talking about? Right now what we follow is what we see in our timelines, but if Twitter starts algorithmically curating our timelines with no ability to opt out, it’s not going to be nearly so much fun. When Twitter starts thinking for us based on how we’ve thought before, i.e., based on our Twitter surfing, then the wonderful serendipity and certainly the ability to be exposed to other ways of thinking besides our own will be lost.

I mentioned this kind of thing* a few years ago. To be clear, I understand the need from an advertising standpoint. These companies have to make money to continue to provide us all the great content, but hell, isn’t there a happy medium so I’m not always fed exactly what a site thinks I want to see? How boring.

* Do yourself a favor and watch the video in that post.

edit: I retweeted this earlier today, but I want ensure it’s seen by all of you, and that you know I feel the same:

another edit:

Throttling my feed and not showing me everything is exactly why I got so tired of Facebook & can barely make myself go there- even though that’s where most of my RL friends are. Don’t decide for me what I want to see and (especially) not see!! Twitter already has the “Promote” thing and it doesn’t bother me, I can ignore or not. Right now, I like the setup of Twitter much better. — SH on the possible algorithmic curating of Twitter timeline