I wonder if engagement killed social media?

There’s no way to miss the frustration about social media all around us. Algorithmic feeds, allegations of Facebook manipulating the media. It never seems to end.

in the middle of this storm Andy Baio, the former CTO at Kickstarter, put up a link that shows you what your twitter feed was like ten years ago. It went viral.

Today were bombarded by snide comments and jokes at everyone’s expense, but ten years ago people mostly observed and shared things. 

I wonder why?

What happened that made the social landscape change this drastically? Was is the influx of new people that swamped the established culture? Possible, but I believe in humanity way more than that. was is the hardening social climate all around us? Doubtful, the only place it seems to get rougher is in the the media.

I think there’s a piece of evidence right there in what social posts look like today.

It’s a megaphone.

All these posts are broadcasts. They’re mostly snide, satirical or cynical posts at someone’s expense. 

There’s  another sort of content that’s experiencing the same development in parallel. News is growing worse and more snide by the minute in the race for faster and cheaper clickbait. 

Can it be that social media turned bad because we all strive for short term engagement? We know that measuring engagement shortsightedly has left Facebook with the massive undertaking to redesign their feed. So it’s not a big leap of the imagination to think that perhaps social media was killed by the like button. And twitter by the heart icon.

An entire form of media. Possibly killed because of a bad design choice. 

…or am I reading to much into this? 

The arrogance of a media empire

While there was a tremendous amount of prestige and fulfillment that came with working there, there was also quite a bit of arrogance. We viewed Time magazine as this vehicle that basically taught the American public what was important and what you needed to know over the course of the previous week’s news events in a way that is impossible to conceive of now, when the news cycle is five minutes instead of five days.

— The Last Days of Time Inc

The entire article is definitely worth a read. I find it incredibly analogous to tech startups at the peak of bubbles. All arrogant “bro-culture” playing around. If this really is what journalism looks like from behind the scenes, it’s not pretty. I’m glad I don’t consume much “news” anymore.