One of the events that have marked this week has been the shooting at the YouTube offices in San Bruno . In Androall we cover the minute by minute of the event and we inform when its authorship was known , but everything started, as always happens, with a tweet . Vadim Lavrusik, YouTube worker, was the first to echo the shooting with the tweet below, a tweet that it did not take long to go viral and to reach all corners of the world . To this day, his tweet has more than 32,000 retweets and 45,000 ‘likes’.
Active shooter at YouTube HQ. Heard shots and saw people running while at my desk. Now barricaded inside a room with coworkers.
– Vadim Lavrusik (@Lavrusik) April 3, 2018
The tweet not only put the shooting on YouTube on the map, but also mobilized a huge amount of media, journalists and users who reported minute by minute what was happening. “Infoxication”, some will say, “misinformation”, others will say, and they may not be right, although from my point of view, what happened last Tuesday on Twitter is a lesson of what a social network should be: instantaneous, chronological and simple.
Twitter has an advantage that makes it the social network par excellence if what the user wants is to be informed: your timeline, feed, wall or whatever you want to call it is chronological , which means that the tweets published by users appear sorted from oldest to newest. It may seem silly and, in fact, I am sure that many people prefer the Facebook algorithm because it shows them what they are most interested in, but it’s not so banal if you want to follow minute by minute an event or event.
So you see what I mean, let’s use the example of yesterday’s shooting. When it started, several media began to report live what was happening through photos, text, videos and testimonies . Just look for the word “youtube” or the hashtag “#YouTubeShooter”, any user I could follow the news live and participate actively , whether retweeted official sources or providing own content. That would have been impossible on Facebook, impossible.
If Vadim Lavrusik had published that same tweet on his profile or Facebook page, Edgerank -the algorithm of FB- would have filtered it and, possibly, being only text, the scope of the post would have been negligible (Facebook gives more scope to the posts with images and videos). In this case, the media would have found out one way or another because, well, it is the YouTube headquarters. But suppose it had been in a random site with people with fewer followers . Let’s suppose it’s a shooting in a town lost from the hand of God. Only on Twitter is it possible that a shooting in said town goes viral and reach the media. Why? By the very nature of Twitter.
I put a tweet, someone shares it, in turn someone shares it, and more, and more, and more. The ‘snowball’ effect is infinite , because Twitter does not stifle publications, it does not reduce the scope with the passage of time . A tweet published in 2011 can go viral again if the right person finds it -to tell politicians-. However, Facebook’s algorithm takes into account the time that has passed since something was published, so that a 2011 publication would be hidden by the algorithm and would never see the light . That, and to go back in the wall of a Facebook page is a Herculean task.
The moment an algorithm decides what has visibility and what does not, it is an algorithm that is establishing the public agenda, that is, what “has to matter”, that is, what you think, that is, manipulates you . That is the main problem of Facebook, Instagram and other social networks. Twitter is chronological, and the few algorithms they have can 1) be deactivated and 2) be avoided.
I have done the test and I have tried inform me and follow the event on Facebook in the same way I did yesterday * on Twitter And it is impossible! I search for “youtube” and I get “Responses to emergencies” (the function of Facebook to follow news about a tragedy such as an earthquake or an attack). The first thing that comes out is, in this order, a CNN publication from 13 hours ago , then another from ABC News from 13 hours ago , then another of Univision’s 12 ago , then one of a page from a journalist that I do not know about 5 hours , then one from a certain John (a guy from London like you and me) from 6 hours ago and, finally, an ABC7 News publication of 7 hours ago .
The same with the hashtag #YouTubeShooter: a publication 7 hours ago, then one from 1 hour ago and then another from 13 hours ago. How will you inform yourself and follow something live on Facebook, if Facebook filters your content in this way? It is impossible! Only on Twitter, only and exclusively on Twitter, you can “see what interests you”. Facebook says it shows you “what interests you”, but actually shows what Facebook “thinks you’re interested”.
An example: if I am a publisher of Andro4all and follow iPadizate on Facebook it’s because I want to see what iPadizate publishes . Yes, I’m interested in Android, but if I choose to follow iPadizate, it’s because I want to see what iPadizate publishes , I am more interested or less interested. If Facebook considers it appropriate not to show me everything I want to show me, the same is time to tell ciao to Facebook and look for other alternatives (something that, by the way, today, I’ve already done).
Twitter has shown that, despite not being the best platform in the world, despite having a somewhat complicated interface and despite the noise made by troll accounts, It’s the social media for excellence . It’s the only network that, really, allows you be up to date . The only one that lets you know at all times what and how is happening, that allows you to participate and be part of an active user community.
Instagram, in that sense, and even maintaining the algorithm, he is putting the batteries with the Stories , but still has a long way to go to beat Snapchat in this regard. In short, users depend on being “Moderately well-informed” or “know what the algorithms want you to know” . Let each one draw their own conclusions.
* This article is written on Wednesday, April 4, 2018.
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