Robert Scoble wrote a post on how G has killed Twitter (paraphrasing a bit) and how Twitter could fix their issues, the primary being help users distinguish the signal from all the noise. This is a big problem across Social Media platforms in general, most people create meaningful content, I’m talking truly unique/thought provoking words, when strung together make sentences.
When any social media platform (hell even games or virtual reality) starts to pick up traction all the mindless junk, buy this product crap product (you know the ‘just need to get it in front of eyeballs’ numbers game driven crap) starts to appear everywhere. Blog post Ping backs, Random Hooker Twitter Mentions and DM’s and we cant forget about the evil scams out there targeted at unknowing housewives or old people who will click on anything so you can steal their life savings. Noise is nothing new in Social Media or the online world and I don’t see it going away.
This got me to thinking about Noise in Social Media, how it’s a problem that nobody (not even Google, Facebook, Craigslist or Wikipedia) has been able to solve. Noise is an inherent issue with modern day human beings, consider the following:
Think about all the ‘Noise’ you deal with on a daily basis, TV commercials, Pre-Approved Credit Card offers you receive in the mail, Email SPAM, that long lost Ethiopian Uncle you’ve never met who left you Millions of dollars in a bank in Zimbabwe (one of my favorites!), FOX News… ok, that one might be a stretch.
Noise is everywhere, in many forms and everyone has an opinion or thoughts on what is acceptable, others just ignore etiquette and assault your senses without regard. Sorry folks.. the noise isn’t going anywhere.
So how do we combat the Noise?
We could create a private ecosystem where such behavior isn’t tolerated, which a lot of folks have done. I participate in a design community that is invite only, where only meaningful content is tolerated. This works in some cases but what about in a system where you don’t want to alienate someone?
There isn’t a perfect answer, although there are measures you can take to get rid of some if not most of the Noise. On Google plus, you can organize your connections by circles and filter content that way, or Mute a particular content… or go to the extreme of Blocking someone so that you are never bothered by the nonsense again. Other platforms have similar actions you can take (granted it is very limited in the case of Twitter) but at the end of the day you the user are empowered to take these actions.
These services can only take steps to a certain limit before they become censoring, this is a very fine line that must be toed which is why these actions were put in place so you don’t have to see that Jackass’s content because you find it annoying, threatening or whatever the case may be. The Noise isn’t going anywhere, you’ve been given the power to deal with the noise… it’s time to make your stance and stop complaining, besides I don’t want to hear your bitching… it’s clogging my stream!