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shurcool

Level of detail for Twitter?

14 posts in this topic

It kind of bothers me that all tweets have approximately the same level of prominence.

So when I don't check my feed for 2 days and then I have like 50 unread tweets, I end up skimming them instead of reading each one, and a tweet like this:

https://twitter.com/worrydream/status/251023511659896832

Does not in any way stand out over other much less significant tweets like these:

https://twitter.com/peteburtis/status/251171946648178688

So I might miss the former almost life-changing tweet in the sea of 20-30 tweets similar to the latter.

I follow people who say interesting things, but some of them say 1 thing per week, while others say 10 per day. This means I end up missing things from the ones who talk less.

Is there anything that can be/is being done about this?

I know it's a hard problem to figure out which tweets deserve to be highlighted, but a hard problem doesn't mean it shouldn't be attempted.
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I used Twitter as a clear example of the problem where all entries have the same display prominence, resulting in high-value entries being underrepresented and low-value content taking up too much (visual and temporal) space. But a general solution to this could be applied to anything: news, rss feeds, email, phone calls, text messages, etc. etc.

Also, you should follow me on Twitter here. [twitter]shurcooL[/twitter]
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I think part of the problem is following too many people and being afraid to unfollow some. I'm following 21 people currently, and if their signal : noise ratio gets bad, I'll unfollow.
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That's why Twitter has lists!

I follow over 100 people (but they are all assigned to lists), and I get 50 unread tweets in the course of a few minutes. I skim it every day. If I want to see something specific, I click on the relevant list. I assign lots of things to lists too without bothering to follow them. Mostly obscure humor accounts, or things I don't need to see in my main feed.
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..... Twitter: A more annoying version of [url="http://www.facebook.com/"]FB[/url]--- I never bother with twitter, since every [url="https://www.google.com/search?q=define+twit&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t"]Twit [/url]I have ever read is pointless. Seriously, why do I want to know every action or philosophic notion, some one has ? Edited by Shippou
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[quote name='Shippou' timestamp='1349550933' post='4987483']Seriously, why do I want to know every action or philosophic notion, some one has ?
[/quote]
I want that, because I find that great developers are very inspiring, they push me to work harder. I want to know what they're doing and their thoughts on stuff.

People like John Carmack, notch, Tom Preston-Werner, Jonathan Blow, Michal Marcinkowski, Chris Granger, Paul Graham, Glenn Fiedler, Kael Rowan, Dustin Curtis, Cody Krieger, Bret Victor, Robert Pelloni, David Rosen (of Wolfire/Humble Indie Bundle fame) are my favourites because I have similar interests and goals as them.

If Albert Einstein were alive today, I would definitely follow him because I'd want to know what's he up to. Edited by shurcool
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[quote name='tstrimple' timestamp='1349548820' post='4987476']
I think part of the problem is following too many people and being afraid to unfollow some. I'm following 21 people currently, and if their signal : noise ratio gets bad, I'll unfollow.
[/quote]
This is a great bandaid solution. But it doesn't solve the problem that if there are only 2 people in the world you want to follow, and one tweets 20 things per day while the other tweets 1 per month, if u only read 25% of your tweets you have 99% chance of seeing things from person A and 1% chance of seeing things from person B.
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[quote name='Daaark' timestamp='1349549832' post='4987478']
That's why Twitter has lists![/quote]

Worst discoverability ever.
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[quote name='shurcool' timestamp='1349554048' post='4987494']
[quote name='tstrimple' timestamp='1349548820' post='4987476']
I think part of the problem is following too many people and being afraid to unfollow some. I'm following 21 people currently, and if their signal : noise ratio gets bad, I'll unfollow.
[/quote]
This is a great bandaid solution. But it doesn't solve the problem that if there are only 2 people in the world you want to follow, and one tweets 20 things per day while the other tweets 1 per month, if u only read 25% of your tweets you have 99% chance of seeing things from person A and 1% chance of seeing things from person B.
[/quote]

the problem is how do you quantify a post as "meaniful", you can't give the tools to users, because they well probably abuse it, so you'd need an advance algorithm that can both understand [b]your[/b] interests, as well as the context of posts, and from that, deliever to you what you find most important.

this is no easy feat by any means.
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[quote name='slicer4ever' timestamp='1349576503' post='4987558']the problem is how do you quantify a post as "meaniful", you can't give the tools to users, because they well probably abuse it, so you'd need an advance algorithm that can both understand [b]your[/b] interests, as well as the context of posts, and from that, deliever to you what you find most important.

this is no easy feat by any means.
[/quote]
Yes, it's hard. But not impossible.

Similarly, things like Google Search and Siri might have seemed impossibly hard some years ago.

All you have to really do is simulate the human brain that will be potentially reading a tweet, and see how he/she feels after virtually "having have read" the tweet and see if he/she feels regret for spending the amount of time on it, or joy that he/she hadn't accidentally missed it. Or better yet, simulate the expected life outcome based on having read/not read the tweet and see which potential outcome is better.

Since the above accurate solution is hard, you can use estimation and various heuristics...

Perhaps see how many seconds people on average spend looking at said tweet (vs. others), how often the author tweets (i.e. rare tweets should probably be valued more than very common ones), whether it's a reply to someone, a very highly retweeted tweet... and I'm sure there are more indicators that differentiate high quality, valuable tweets vs. the mundane ones. Just off the top of my head... Edited by shurcool
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[quote name='Shippou' timestamp='1349550933' post='4987483']
..... Twitter: A more annoying version of FB--- I never bother with twitter, since every TwitI have ever read is pointless. Seriously, why do I want to know every action or philosophic notion, some one has ?
[/quote]I wouldn't say FB is better. On Twitter you read people's philiosophical notions. On FB, you get to see what they ate for breakfast, every pub they visit, every article they read (but you can't read it unless you sign up through FB), every game they play - often much of it automated rather than typed by them, so it generates vast amounts of noise to signal.

Years ago people would criticise places like Livejournal as places where people posted about what they ate for breakfast. I don't think they did, but still - if today, I saw "Ate breakfast [Get the new Breakfast App so people see when you have breakfast!]", it would be one of the more interesting things on FB.

Oh, and in response to the OP, FB already has a system where it decides only to show you the most "important" things. Whether you like it or not.
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Forget about Twitter, there's lots of interesting detail posted in this thread. And I still skimmed over the majority of posts looking to see if one piece of text somewhere catches my eye enough to make me want to read it.

So much information available in the world today.
So little attention span.
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[quote name='mdwh' timestamp='1349798914' post='4988396']
I wouldn't say FB is better. On Twitter you read people's philiosophical notions. On FB, you get to see what they ate for breakfast, every pub they visit, every article they read (but you can't read it unless you sign up through FB), every game they play - often much of it automated rather than typed by them, so it generates vast amounts of noise to signal.
[/quote]

uhh..I don't know who ur friends with on FB that you don't see the same crap on twitter, but if someone's posting about their breakfast/pub vists/articles read, chances are their doing the same bullshit on w/e service their using. at the end of the day, it's not the service at fault, it's the users whom feel it's ok to broadcast that level of information.
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Actually, it's not the user's fault either. Not all of us are angry, grumpy, anti-social, trolls, and don't mind humoring each other about mundane things. Normal people talk about normal everyday things in real life, and they'll talk about them on any other form of communication too.
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This probably is a less hard problem to solve than you might think.. at least for tweets that link to something interesting. First off, that tweet you thought was good contained a url. Second, urls that are noteworthy tend to be retweeted.. to be fair, let's check out the tweet you posted:

[url="http://urls.api.twitter.com/1/urls/count.json?url=http://worrydream.com/LearnableProgramming/"]http://urls.api.twit...bleProgramming/[/url]

[code]
{"count":4660,"url":"http:\/\/worrydream.com\/LearnableProgramming\/"}
[/code]

4,660 tweets for that url.. that's significant. If you were looking for interesting stuff this alone might be enough. A great tool might even go further to analyze the page itself and determine if it was game development related in some way. Come to think of it.. this may be far better for picking interesting stuff than the aggregated RSS feeds we use for the frontpage. Edited by Michael Tanczos
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