Most FB and Twitter links fizzle within hours (graph via bit.ly)
Facebook and Twitter are like crack. It’s like, gimme crack, gimme crack, gimme crack, and then you can’t remember shit. The emphasis is all on the right now, and archives are (were) an almost foreign concept. The Facebook Timeline for profiles is supposed to resolve this, but they’ve recently gotten rid of discussion tabs for (business) pages without really replacing their organizational ability. Twitter is even worse.
My main issue is that neither network has good search. I don’t mean search within the now, I mean, how do I find something I said two months ago, or even two days? It’s very difficult. For Facebook, I’ve used Google site search [site:fb.com/indiblog whatever you want to search for], but that’s pretty crap. Honestly, if I want to find something I either open every single ‘more posts’ in succession, or give up. Twitter has acquired BackTweets, but they’re still no better.
The broader philosophical idea here is that new is always better, which it kinda is, except there comes a point where new isn’t new anymore, and then old becomes gold. Like skinny jeans, or growing your own food. Or disco (electro).
The challenge for social networks is how to get beyond the new and the challenge for media in general is to get beyond news. For a while information was scarce and just producing it was great. The challenge for new media, more oral than literal in nature, to get their archives and search right, to balance relevance with novelty. I assume this something Google is working on. Google Plus didn’t have search for a while, but now it kinda does. Still not using it, but good idea.
In working on Kottu, this was the main challenge. At one point we had 1,000 blogs and it was like, woo-hoo, except I couldn’t find anything to read. We’re trying to balance that with ‘spiciness’ measure (social and click buzz) but even that involves a balance of letting posts fizzle out, or letting them build value after time. The half life of a link on Twitter or Facebook is about 2.8 hours or 3.2 hours, respectively, but that obviously doesn’t mean that content is only interesting for that long. That’s just a bias of the medium, one which new tech needs to cut against.