My Blog Week: May 1 to May 7
A Word on the Week
Happy Talk (part two)
I’ll begin with a little informal chart I made, based on three days of my Twitter feed.
The survey is based on between 33 and 38 posts per day….so, telling, but not in-depth.
I judged negative to include fear-mongering, trouble-stirring, naysaying, bitching, and grim predicting, which is to declare all good news Not Good (for being not perfect, not sustainable, etc.). Ads include all posts labeled “promotional”. Neutral was someone asking a question, which though at times disingenuous, obtains a value only when the question is answered. Positive was good news, praise, humorous bits.
As didn’t really need proving, the posts targeted to the individual’s feed are mostly negative, if the feed is oriented towards news and politics. Ads appeared after every fifth or sixth post until Thursday, when some odd changes occurred.
Among posts that day I found only one ad. As you can see, the increase in neutral posts drove down the percentage of other types. And what about these neutral posts? I once chose “Writing” as a topic, then got tired of seeing it, because the posts were often a kind of stealth naysaying, something like, “I was told important writers never use conjunctions. What does everyone else think?”
An exaggeration, but again, we see the implication that you might be wrong for doing an ordinary thing; that the things you’ve done and can’t change might, in the wide world of Other People Who Allegedly Know, have been wrong from the start. I find sowers of doubt exasperating, but I can see true harm done to tentative beginners, and those whose self-esteem needs bolstering…
In short, I don’t trust these question posts.
And seeing a whole string of them on one day, sent to me under the label of “Writing” (I actually removed the topic from my list and I’m sent the posts regardless), made me think this may be an organized effort from a source. Maybe not sinister, but purposed to gather free data for compiling saleable reports.
I tried the experiment of using the search bar, and found a couple of interesting characteristics. First, the posts were overwhelmingly positive, to the point I didn’t need to chart them. Second, the promoted Tweets disappeared after the first several posts. Going deeper yielded an almost ad-less experience. I tried Cats and Gardens (and we know cat and garden people are nice). Then I put in two that I thought would generate controversy: Movies, and Soccer. But even here, no anger, no insults, just touting favorites and sharing comments.
It seems two factors can transform social media, or be used to build a better platform—one that really might bring the world to the conversation and keep it civil. First, as mentioned last week, no followers, and no following. For the average person, who isn’t trying to compete for the role of influencer, it shouldn’t make much difference. We all have zero followers on platforms we don’t look at, and being bereft of TikTok fans, or Reddit fans, or Twitter fans (if Twitter’s the one you don’t have time for), is a fact we already live with.
Another problem with followings is, ironically, it may suppress free speech. When you solicit after numbers, you want to say the most popular things, and censor out your unpopular “mistakes”. You are manipulated by the system into not saying what isn’t well tolerated on the platform.
The second factor is to have users enter a portal that’s theme-based. I noticed, when I did my searches, that the promoted Tweets were not targeted to the group. Soccer fans were getting an ad for the Met Gala. Cat lovers were getting an ad for ESPN. A platform could promise to its advertisers real targeting of apt customers, in a straightforward way, instead of by mysterious algorithms—so, possibly, such a platform could earn a profit.
On Monday, “Nedforum”, with Anton hatching a plot. Tuesday, the second Cursed Money, with the entrance of a love-interest. Wednesday, a new “Bride to Be”, the story winding down to the point of defeat for the runaway princess. Thursday, The Mirrors, Charmante making a plan difficult to execute. Saturday, Catastrophe, and Hess’s comment-rich way of reporting politician Clerc’s professed experience.
Images on my posts sometimes have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: May 1 to May 7