Weekly Social Media Round-Up

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You don’t measure your self-worth in stars or hearts. You measure it in re-tweets, people! Retweet or go home! – Trevor Noah, The Daily Show, 11/3/15

Twitter is such an interesting social network. After a very long period of not doing much of anything, Twitter is now actively adding features and updating/removing old one on an almost weekly basis. All of these changes are inspiring some very interesting writing. Here are three great pieces about Twitter from this past week.

The Decay of Twitter

We can’t recommend this piece enough. The writer identifies Twitter’s problems posting a profit and growing their userbase as stemming from the way the network enables what he calls “conversation smoosh”— a smashing together of orality and literacy that is a direct byproduct of the Internet. He also points out that this is why image-based networks such as Instagram may be enjoying more success.

The rot we’re seeing in Twitter is the rot of participatory media devolved into competitive spheres where the collective ‘we’ treats conversational contributions as fixed print-like identity claims,” she writes. In other words, on Twitter, people say things that they think of as ephemeral and chatty. Their utterances are then treated as unequivocal political statements by people outside the conversation. Because there’s a kind of sensationalistic value in interpreting someone’s chattiness in partisan terms, tweets “are taken up as magnum opi to be leapt upon and eviscerated, not only by ideological opponents or threatened employers but by in-network peers. [via The Atlantic]

Twitter Found Love in A Fave-Less Place

Twitter switched from “Favorites” (Stars) to “Likes” (Hearts) this week, and people went crazy. A lot of people hated the new heart because they said it reminded them of Facebook. This writer was in favor of the heart, almost to the point of being a bit overwrought. The article has a fundamentally different perspective than the one above.

Twitter is fundamentally an interest graph, not a social graph. It’s for following and sharing what you think about. Twitter’s a lot different from everyday life, where we’re surrounded by people who care about us not because we always have something smart or funny to say, but because they’re the friends and family we experience real life alongside. They practically have to support us. [via TechCrunch]

Meet Niche: Twitter’s Secret Weapon

How does Twitter stay alive? With smart investments and behind-the-scenes maneuvering, like the acquisition of social influencer company Niche. This allows Twitter to essentially offer its most influential users up to advertisers without seeming to be directly involved.

…the reason this program is working so well is precisely because Niche is cross-platform; social media stars know they’re maximizing their earnings. “If suddenly, post-Niche becoming a part of Twitter, they start to see ‘I’m earning less revenue,’ they’re going to connect the dots and they’re not going to be too pleased with us.” If anything, running ads on other social platforms can only help Twitter, as the company would start to see a cut of revenue it would otherwise have no claim to. [via Buzzfeed]

Other Highlights

Facebook posts Q3 numbers, reports more than a billion users & a huge leap in revenue they attribute to mobile advertising. [via New York Times]

Pinterest launches a Pinterest Shop, curating all buyable pins on one page. [via Wired]

Weekend Reading

Don’t Tune Out The World With These Earbuds. Instead, Tune In

Pretty cool conceptual project for earbuds that remix what you’re hearing into different sounds, just in case you’ve ever wanted to have a conversation with an electric guitar. [via Fast Company]

Why I Quit Ordering From Uber-for-Food Start Ups

This article highlights a luxury food delivery service in the Bay Area called Sprig as well as a neighborhood network of home cooks called Josephine who operate, thus far, via SMS. The article also examines the social implications of obfuscating the human cost that makes our “convenience economy” possible.

Sprig-type operations drain agency and expertise out of the world. They centralize, aiming to build huge hubs with small spokes; their innermost mechanisms are hidden. They depend on humans behaving as interchangeable units of labor…Josephine cultivates agency and expertise. It decentralizes, aims to build a dense mesh, neighborhood-scale; its mechanisms are public. It depends on humans developing their specific, idiosyncratic tastes and skills. [via The Atlantic]

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