The biggest unsolved problem in social networking remains unsolved with Google+: separating signal from noise. Twitter, it seems, doesn’t even want to try. The timeline is as dumb as it has been since the beginning, a reverse chron[ological] firehose of information. Facebook’s feed has improved over the years, but a friend in New Jersey trying to get rid of a bookshelf is just not relevant.For each piece of data you post online one would need two pieces of meta-data (data about that data) to restrict the target audience as much as possible:
The lack of quality tools for generating signal out of these feeds is inhibiting the creation of content. People are multidimensional and manual segmentation at the person level isn’t enough. I create content about a lot of things, including social networking, mobile, daily deals, my travel, my reading and more. But as I was reading Onward, I shared less than I would have because I didn’t want to flood people’s streams. If I annoy people, they have a blunt tool to fix it: unsubscribe entirely. So I mitigate my posting.
One person I follow on Twitter actually tags most of his posts. I’m interested in his content on tech, business and aviation. But I couldn’t care less about his Chicago tweets. So far, I haven’t seen a tool that would learn that and automatically skip them.
Separating signal from noise and ranking disparate pieces of content is a problem that is squarely in Google’s wheelhouse. The only company I’ve seen that has done a good job at amplifying signal is Quora.
- Sender-side restriction: specify who is allowed to see it (everyone, only family, etc.).