Frustrated with the Facebook Algorithm? You're Going to Hate What Twitter Has Up Its Sleeve.

Twitter is experimenting with ways to infuse your feed with "relevant content" by people you don't follow. Is this the end of Twitter as a democratic platform?

Have you ever come across a seemingly recent Facebook status update situated near the top of your timeline only to realize upon inspection that it had been posted two days prior? It irritates me to no end that the feed has become such a mess.

Many of us remember a simpler time when you could log in and stalk your friends in real time. Now you have to scroll through jumbles of posts spanning days while ignoring irrelevant content from people you don't even know. Facebook's algorithm has, just like the website's many other updates through the years, made the platform a lot less user friendly. But Zuckerberg and Co. know most users aren't going to get fed up and leave. They've made the site ubiquitous -- they can do whatever they want.

That's why Twitter is so great. It's almost perfectly democratic. All tweets are created equal. Or at least that's the way it was until recently. As Christina Warren of Mashable notes, some recent experiments and policy changes have opened the door for Twitter to start infusing your feed with "relevant content." From Twitter's help page:

Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that's popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don't follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.

As Warren notes, the timing and magnitude of these shifts are still up in the air, but it's fairly clear this is all an effort to become more like Facebook. This is troublesome for several reasons. If Twitter were to switch away from a real-time stream (as Facebook did), the world's greatest medium for instant news and information would be compromised. Imagine if the events in Ferguson this month were subject to a Twitter algorithm.

Warren suggests that Twitter be careful with how quickly it decides to change things up. There's one thing that Facebook has that Twitter doesn't:

"Twitter needs to think carefully about how it rolls out these changes. Unlike Facebook, having a Twitter account isn't a de facto social network requirement. In general, leaving Facebook — or choosing to use it less — is making much more of a social statement than leaving Twitter."

Take a look at Warren's article (linked again below) to learn more about the slippery slope Twitter is racing toward.

Read more at Mashable

Photo credit: dolphfyn /

Misbehaving: being clever and wicked is a form of creativity

Creativity can bring about unchecked harm, but it's up to us how we wield it.Aeon counter – do not remove

Mind & Brain

Suppose you forgot it was your partner's birthday, but you know that they would appreciate the smallest of gestures, say a bouquet. It's late at night and no florists are open. The cemetery on your way home has recently had a funeral, and you walk across the site and pick up a good-looking bouquet of roses from someone's grave. You then head home, and the flowers are happily received by your partner.

Would you say that you hurt anyone?

Keep reading Show less

Study: Memories of music cannot be lost to Alzheimer's and dementia

The part of your brain responsible for ASMR catalogs music, and appears to be a stronghold against Alzheimer's and dementia.

The parts of the brain highlighted in red and yellow are thought to control your sense of attention and memory. (image c/o Brain Network Lab)

Some music inspires you to move your feet, some inspires you to get out there and change the world. In any case, and to move hurriedly on to the point of this article, it's fair to say that music moves people in special ways. 

Keep reading Show less

In 1999, David Bowie knew the internet would change the world

Musican. Actor. Fashion Icon. Internet Visionary?

Technology & Innovation
  • David Bowie was well known as a rock star, but somehow his other interests and accomplishments remain obscure.
  • In this 1999 interview, he explains why he knows the internet is more than just a tool and why it was destined to change the world.
  • He launched his own internet service provider in 1998, BowieNet. It ceased operations in 2006.
Keep reading Show less