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Craig Kerstiens

Who will filter the stream first?

Facebook is where I have more noise than any other social site, twitter may even tie facebook at amount of sheer content I receive in my feed. With regards to the ratio of what I care about to what I see facebook is a lot better, due to their news feed versus live feed. However, their news feed is still very often off. I wrote some time back about web 3.0, and how essentially showing what I want to see is what the web will become. You’ll take the vast amount of content and distill it into what I want to see. People seem to be taking very half-hazard shots at it and its quite a let down.

I’ll start with twitter, twitter gives no filtering on the content based on their view. Instead they put the control in the users hands for me to create filters based on friends. This means I have to take time to go through all of my 600+ people I follow and group them into lists, then navigate each list when I want to view such topics. This is not only time intensive it still doesn’t accomplish what I want which is information by topic in a lot of cases, especially on twitter.

Moving on to facebook, they at least take care of the process (almost transparently) of who I want to see. If someone shows up, I can simply say hide from the news feed. I have a strong hunch that when I click out of the news feed and go to someone’s profile it weights that person to be more frequent. This is a very logical deduction to make, and in most cases I’m pretty pleased with the result. The big problem with this is it’s still all about the people, not about the content. If I clicked on someone because they mentioned coming to visit California, I may have not talked to them in 2 years, but would simply like to offer up my help when they visit. This doesn’t mean I want to get updates about them after they visit.

Facebook is definitely a leader in this space, first they’re one of the few with enough content in a feed that filtering even matters. Then the fact that they get a user beyond analysis-paralysis it’s a positive move, however the classification is wrong. Whether it’s twitter, facebook, or some other service that hasn’t emerged yet, filtering a mass of information to what a user cares about will be huge.

Amazon and Netflix have done this for products, why has no one tried this for information?