Quality of follow and the information that leverages the network

in OCD2 years ago

The other day I mentioned, quality-of-share as a thing, as obviously not all shares are going to get the same reach. But the number of reach is not the most important metric, the quality of those reached is. This is not just for Steem of course, as it is the reason that the data collectors are able to sell our information for so much, as it can then be used to target us with products, services and political campaigns.

As I see it, we have largely been tricked into worrying about numbers of followers as enduser consumers on the social platforms, even though while there is no direct money there, stake still matters. Social stake that is. Just like the useless "resteem services" here that push posts out to 50,000 dead accounts, the quality of the following matters on Twitter also and having a few highly socially staked followers can make a large difference. And funnily enough, just like on Steem, quality of content matters too, as do the relationships created on and off the platform.

It took me about 6 months to get to 500 followers on Steem, and I think it has taken over a year to gain the last 500. Most of my following came in a very short period between late 2017 and mid 2018, surprise, surprise. I have never put much stock in number of followers on Steem, as there are people like @kingscrown with 30,000+ followers who still doesn't get much engagement - yet a lot of rewards on low quality content. The vast majority of the rewards he gets are from a very narrow set of those followers.

Quality is subjective of course, but when it comes to quality of follower on a stake-based platform, stake has to be a contributing factor. And that is the same for Twitter, where social stake matters, and that means that not only could a following account have many followers themselves, but that account can have influence over the following. A retweet or resteem from an influential account can make a lot of difference.

However, I don't find the "follower" game much fun at all and I do not care how many followers I have on Steem or Twitter or anywhere else, as I am more interested in the engagement side of things - the community aspects. I do not understand why anyone would follow thousands of active accounts as to me, that would mean I would miss far more than I would gain, and anything gained would be far too random to be of daily use. But, this could be generational.

I have the sense that when it comes to information, it is definitely quantity over quality these days, as people jam as much in as they possibly can, with much of it being so shallow that nothing of value really gets held. Long form for many has become far too much of a time investment, as spending 10 minutes on one topic seems to be less value than scrolling through 100 in the same time frame.

But, the feeling of learning something of value and actually learning something of value can have a large gap between them. People read a headline and a Tweet and think that they suddenly have an in-depth understanding of a topic, the Dunning-Kruger effect at play - with people who know a little, believing they know a lot.

These people are relatively easy to spot, as they use the latest "internetisms" in their interactions, the latest terminology, thinking it makes themselves seem knowledgeable. What it generally makes them is, puppets, people with no original thought, consumers, not creators.

While a lot of people seem to think the internet is filled with creativity, I believe that it is actually filled with a lot of parrots that leverage and share the work of others. There is nothing wrong with sharing our interests, but it also becomes a habit that allows for the spreading of some quite damaging ideas too, ideas that go viral from a very narrow source through the unthinking masses and their networks of follow for follow armies who only care about quantity, not quality, with most not even reading the content that they share.

This ability to send messages through the networks far and wide is what gives the data value and is also why internet influencers are valued. But, when it comes to the value of the infuencer's network, that network has to be made up of the right kind of follower, which is why the digital avatar that we all have connected to us by the data collectors is so valuable.

That avatar that tracks our on and offline behaviors, allows an AI to identify us as individuals and predict what kind of information will move us to act in a way they want. Through this, they can tailor our feeds with algorithms that give us more of what we want and can be used to push more of what they want us to act upon, whether it be to make a purchase or cast a vote.

Not only that, our own follow and share lists add to the matrix to cross-reference each other and can be utilized to not only push information further, but make it look like that information is coming in from different sources to reinforce the learning. If a network of people are saying the same thing, it must mean it is the right thing to say, right?

Because we have degraded the quality of many of our relationships in pursuit of quantity, we end up being shifted by the masses more than those we should actually trust and who may even care about us. We act in accordance to the opinion of a public with no skin in our game, without recognizing that their opinion isn't their own either - it is a fed opinion that is driven through their network from unknown sources, with hidden agendas.

As said, quality of many things is subjective, but what about quality of information? A news service should be stating the facts, so why are there so many news services, isn't one enough? Well of course not, because they are all opinion based, and depending on what side of circumstances one stands, opinions can be polar opposites. Which is of course great, because then polarized networks form, are easily identifiable and their behavior highly predictable.

Just feed them a story that moves them.

Taraz
[ a Steem original ]

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I am very pleased to read your article and it happens just as I have just finished reading a report on the social effect.
A study on young people that documents the decrease in the use of social media and a lower sense of loneliness and manifestations related to depression.
"When you look at the lives of others, especially on Instagram, it is easy to conclude that they are more interesting or better than their own" by Melissa G. Hunt.
A hug
https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/pdf/10.1521/jscp.2018.37.10.751

A study on young people that documents the decrease in the use of social media and a lower sense of loneliness and manifestations related to depression.

It is funny that they need to do a study of it, if they just spend some time observing and listening to the world, it is obvious. Depression is helped by intimate connection and the internet we have built thus far has made us disposable as humans. So people turn to Tinder and conflate sex with building intimate relationships. Quantity over quality again.

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Fun thing I found out relatively recently (so sometime in the last few years), sometimes you can't talk to people about how or why they formulated their opinions as a lot of the time it's treated as an unjustified/unjustifiable and unprovoked attack o_O

Now how many attempts did it take you to get that shot through the bubble :O

Yeah. People take things personally, as they identify themselves with every possible thing they can.

Now how many attempts did it take you to get that shot through the bubble :O

One. I only had one shot at it .
It was taken in St Petersburg in Russia - and I even got a Lada captured in the bubble :)

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...that would mean I would miss far more than I would gain, and anything gained would be far too random to be of daily use. But, this could be generational.

It isn't generational at all. At the end of the noughties, when RSS was still a main content distributor, there have been multiple studies around the topic "how many (daily) authors can one follow without missing out" and the average numbers were between 150-180 (feeds). Of course that tended to also include a certain degree of echo chamber, thus actually even lowering that number when it came to actually reading the published content.

I didn't say only millennials :D

I would say, the internet generation.

"how many (daily) authors can one follow without missing out" and the average numbers were between 150-180 (feeds).

It probably has something to do with tribe size too, with the amount of people who we can develop relationships and trust is quite small.

The Internet, due to be much larger in scale, is much more targeted for those who want a dedicated feed. We are still small and thus there's a massive amount of eclectic content as well because there's fewer to follow so to say.

It's rather interesting that when Jack Dorsey announced he wanted to build Steem see a future decentralized Twitter in which Twitter is merely an app, he said it would allow them to then focus on being the best content filter/aggregator/bubble for its users.

Yes. I listened to a podcast with him some time ago with Sam Harris and he mentioned very familiar ideas. The public discourse is changing toward it of course.

There's also a legal element to it as Twitter, the app, wouldn't be a content custodian anymore and thus wouldn't have to moderate/delete. At least that's the current (legal) theory about custody.

Will be interesting to see what his Bluesky project will do, deliver. Of the tech bro founders he's one of those who are (historically) closest to the cryptosphere.

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