Friday, May 18, 2012

Information spreading on Facebook vs. Twitter, as # of people I follow increases


I found the following Facebook Data post: https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-data-team/rethinking-information-diversity-in-networks/10150503499618859

As I read this Facebook Data team post on information spreading in a social network, I worry a little about Twitter.

Because, even though I'm not a huge fan of this, Facebook can optimize what shows up in my feed and when it shows up. It can increase the probability that I view a share from a weak tie, even if that share happened at 4am.

Whereas Twitter, as much as I like the chronological stream, cannot (currently) optimize my stream. So the weak tie share at 4am is missed.

Gut reaction. Facebook signal/noise ratio improves with # of people I follow. Twitter signal/noise ratio worsens with # of people I follow.

Put another way, if I follow 100K people on Facebook, the timeline has strong signal (good content). If I follow 100K on Twitter, noise.

On the flip side, I like the control with Twitter. I see all the tweets, in order. Something reassuring about that. Data density is better.


Jeff Stern brings up a good point that Facebook has too much noise.  Upon further reflection, I agree. Facebook has too much noise. Theoretically they shouldn't. But in practice they do.  Games, Music, Shares.  I think they are probably trying to reduce this noise over time (and they let users control this pretty well by "hiding things)


As I think about this more, I wonder if Facebook is can be disrupted from a new entrant w/ high signal. i.e. No apps, games.


Path and Everyme are taking a shot at this.  The strength of the Facebook network seems like a lot (too much?) to overcome, at least in the short run (i.e. network size, market awareness, cash in bank, revenue model works).  And, if it's true that higher signal leads to user happiness/retention, I think that Facebook can figure that out and adjust.


They have already offered a "Close Friends" option, which kinda mirrors Path/Everyme. 

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