So I can get on with my incredibly interesting book on Existentialism (boy are you all gong to regret my reading that!), I need to get this out quickly.
This brilliant cartoon describes the death of Twitter, and I suspect Facebook and LinkedIn which suffer from different mixes of much the same malaise. LinkedIn is particularly cretinous these days.
It is at once funny and insightful.
It describes the symptoms but not the causes.
There are roughly three (I bet there are loads more but I really want to get back to my book):
The business model, which is advertising. This is the killer. My guess though is that we’d pay $1 per month for a service free of ads and sponsored posts, especially if it were bundled into our mobile or broadband bills. It is not complicated.
The bad behaviour, which flows from a lack of accountability generally fuelled by anonymity. Accountability flows from authenticated identity and reputation. They are things we need to solve in the internet as a whole for all sorts of other reasons, not least that it has value and might end up being the currency we use to pay for all this.
The fact that even if we still post we have largely stopped listening to each other. Digital media dilute empathy to zero. That is why many companies insert personal steps into digital experiences, it is the bit you remember. The larger the group, the more quickly and completely that dilution happens. Is the magic number 150? No idea, I don’t really care. I suspect it varies from conversation to conversation.
So, to get the joy back we will have to:
- Pay a little, a very little, really it is such a small sum we’d barely notice.
- Only get to join in if we declare and can authenticate (now there is a word…) who we are.
- Tweak the platforms to more easily support smaller conversations.
I suspect what will really happen is that the second item on my list, once solved will spawn services that will blow away the tired old prototypes that are FB, Twitter and LinkedIn so the platforms won’t get tweaked but evaporate in a puff of irrelevance
Rant over, now where is my book.. (At The Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell and unrelated to this post, except perhaps it is really).