Tag Archives: noise

Re-Tweeting and Echo Chamber

I’ve been an avid Twitter user for more than a year and a half now and love it for various reasons. One of the coolest things or phenomenon that Twitter has ever seen is “Re-Tweeting”. What this essentially means is to re-post someone else’s update with prefixing “RT/Retweet”  and the name of the original poster, for example this: First Order Re-Tweet

Difference between posting someone’s content from your Twitter stream as it is and re-tweeting that content is akin to the difference between posting someone’s quote and posting someone’s quote with a  mention of it’s author. People re-tweet to share nice updates/links with their followers. Someone whom you follow posted something nice/useful, you like it and you think your followers will also like it, so you re-tweet it. The content of a re-tweet could pretty much be anything. From a piece of news, a url, a quote, a question to a call for help or anything else.

The core idea behind a “re-tweet” is to share something that someone else posted, with your followers, i.e to add value. There’s a bit more to it then just that, it’s the underlying assumption that people(or a majority of them) would not be getting the original content in their Twitter stream in the first place. However this isn’t always the case and thus starts the trouble. The trouble of getting the same content again and again. If there’s a huge intersection in the list of people we follow, chances are each re-tweet we do would be a repeat-tweet, which would be plain redundant. More and more instances of such repeat-tweets lead to

Echo Chamber: An echo chamber essentially means that you get to hear the echoes of voices(read content) again and again. If I keep getting more and more re-tweets/copies of something that I got directly from the source, it will spoil my experience. This problem gets really annoying for closely integrated circles. Imagine Robert Scoble tweets something say “You are defined by the people you follow” and slowly people who are following him start re-tweeting this. Even if a mere 0.1 % of his followers(which would be 76) re-tweet this and say Robert himself is following half of them(which would be 38 and is a fair possibility), he will have his time line flooded with 38 instances of something he just said. Now that’s something serious, isn’t it ?

Now consider say Chris Brogan, too likes what Robert just said and re-tweets it, andddd. The same thing happens
(a) Chris’s twitter stream will have multiple copies of what he just said(plus the original copy by Robert)
(b) Some of Robert and Chris’s common followers who missed that tweet in the first round, might pick and re-tweet it. God bless Robert’s twitter stream.

This is just the first order or re-tweet, one can imagine will the inter connectedness what a second order re-tweet wave like this can do

Data duplication is a serious problem for some people and networks. The intensity of the problem is reflected in the way Friendfeed introduced hiding/grouping duplicate content.

Duplicate shares were always the most annoying aspect of FriendFeed. Whenever a story breaks, a large number of your friends are likely to share it through various services, which creates a lot of noise in your main feed. Now, FriendFeed will group these entries together. Your main feed will only show the first share, and then give you the option to click through to see who else shared the same item as well. Hopefully, this will also mean that discussions will now become less fragmented, as users will most likely gravitate towards those items that were shared first.

While friendfeed could come up with a fix to make things better by cutting down noise clearly anything of that sort is not going to happen with Twitter. Leave alone it happening I doubt if many Twitter users realize this as a problem in first place. What do you think ?

Please ReTweet it you like it 🙂

Crisis,Twitter and Noise

Ever since the #mumbai became the preferred source of information for netizens some people have been rejoicing at the so called victory of  Social Media over Traditional Media while a few others have been pondering on various aspects of Citizen Journalism using Social Media tools and how could the noise be reduced from this chaos.

I too remember having a tough time keeping track of hundreds of updates per minute with loads of re posting, rumors and hate posts. But as soon as I realized that people are re-posting just about anything I modified the search query to exclude “RT” & “re”, the most common forms of re-tweets and life got a lot easier. These are a few easy and practical tips that can be done to reduce the noise while tracking the updates

1) Exclude RT and re(or any other prevalent acronym for re-tweet) from search query
#[event tag] – RT – re
Since re-tweets are redundant when you tracking the tag from search, excluding them is the first step
2)Exclude any/every one who starts making hate posts
#[event tag] – RT – re -@xyz -@abc
3) Follow less common/trending tags
For ex #taj was initially not as crowded/frequently posted at tag(which changed eventually) but it was still easier to track and had less noise for obvious reasons.

Taking it forward from Tim’s post,  I feel an easy and practical way of generating quality news in case of an event like this that I could think of would be if a group of people( a bit experienced and well known in the community) start using a new #(event tag) to post relevant, original and verified bits of news.

What has been your experience with tracking updates and how did you deal with it?