The Age of Algorithms

I know, Twitter’s algorithm is a disaster, it’s against everything that makes Twitter, Twitter. And Instagram too — how could they do this? Rumours have even started circulating that Snapchat’s algorithm bound. It’s frustrating for users because it takes some of the selection process out of their hands, and it’s frustrating for brands because they inevitably see their reach decline with every such shift.

But here’s the truth that not everyone knows, or wants to acknowledge:

Algorithms work.

How do I know? Take a look at this chart from Facebook’s latest earnings results – and note that Facebook implemented their News Feed algorithm in 2013.

5 key trends that point to the future of social media 1

Oh yeah, I hear you say, but Facebook’s not a good example. They’re the biggest social media network in the world, of course they’ve continued to grow. Okay, what about this— the average time spent, per user, per day, on Facebook has increased from 38 minutes in 2013 to 50 minutes in 2016. That’s the average across all users, all 1.65b of them. And that’s with an algorithm in effect.

Video Evolution

Really, is it any surprise that video has become the fastest growing online communications tool?

TV’s always outpaced magazines and books in terms of time spent — because seeing something with your own eyes is the closest you can get to experiencing it yourself. Hearing about it is only using one of your senses — seeing images is only a snapshot. Watching something happen, for yourself, is truly powerful, and as such, the explosion of video is expected to continue to expand as mobile technology and network capacity also evolves in-step.

So what does that mean? You should be considering how you can connect via video. A significant part of the impetus behind the latest wave of live-stream applications is the capacity to share in the moment, to, again, share your experience with a wider audience. Live-streaming has the capacity to connect us to the rest of the world, in real-time, to get an entirely new perspective on how we live, on world events.

This was best illustrated in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks last year, when so many people switched to Periscope to get a feeling of what it was like on the ground that their server crasheddue to overload. Such events showcase the true power of live-streaming, its capacity to connect us in ways we’ve never even thought possible — very soon, Mark Zuckerberg himself is going to conduct a live-stream with the crew aboard the International Space Station.

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