Chaos on social sites, Twitter is no exception

Chaos on social sites.

As chaos engulfs Twitter under Elon Musk, and other legacy social media platforms, like Facebook, lose their luster for news sites.

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The juggernaut platforms have always been something of a blessing and a curse to publications.

“The news industry didn’t really have a profit model other than trying to get eyeballs and earn digital advertising revenue,” said Courtney Radsch, who studies technology and media at UCLA.

“But what we saw is that the tech platforms, specifically Google and Facebook, ended up controlling that digital advertising infrastructure.”

In other words, news outlets used social media to reach people. But the tech companies pocketed most of the advertising dollars, something that has become even more pronounced as a pullback in ad spending wallops both the media and tech sectors.

Chaos on social sites and publishers.

In the early years of social media, publications tried to play nice with platforms, seeing the audience potential as irresistible. Then the platforms became well-oiled ad machines and ditched news publishers.

Chaos on social sites

Facebook stopped promoting news stories. Original news reporting barely comes across TikTok feeds. And Twitter, by all accounts, is now a hostile environment under Musk.

But if media companies want out, it’s not going to be an easy transition, since news sites have become so entangled with social media.

Industry norms for writing and promoting stories for social media are now gospel in most newsrooms. Outlets craft stories for maximum social amplification with headlines and topics that can be easily juiced by algorithms.

They’re all chasing that singular reward that social media recommendation systems provide: clicks.

“That means that’s going to favor extremism, it’s going to favor polarization. And we might say, ‘you know what?

Chaos on social sites, that’s not the best way to do the news.

Indeed, Twitter under Musk has become more extreme, more polarized, and reliable news is harder to come by.

One recent study by Science Feedback, a fact-checking organization, found that user engagement with so-called superspreaders of misinformation increased 44% on the platform since Musk took over.

If Twitter dies, is journalism better off?

Social media platforms being bad partners is one of the reasons why the news division was shutting down.

It will land in the digital graveyard with other once-popular digital news sites, like Gawker, the Awl and Grantland.

Chaos on social sites, up close the breakup of news.

“Users turned away from news on social media. And then the platforms, seeing users turn away, starting pushing news out. If Twitter is run into the ground, it might actually be a good thing for the news industry.

“It rewards people for feeding into predictable narratives and telling people what they want to hear, punishes them for breaking from the pack,

“It’s an incredible machine for elevating the stupidest thing your enemy ever thought and said.”

Chaos on social sites, Web 2.0

The end of Web 2.0, maybe, and what comes next?

Chaos on social sites

To many observers, the current moment of the digital media industry getting rickety and top social media sites rapidly degrading in quality could be ushering in the end of Web 2.0.

That refers to the modern internet: mediated through large platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter that are awash with user-generated content and that help people navigate the web.

Social media sites, search engines, and online marketplaces like Amazon are all part of Web 2.0. But being on Twitter and Facebook these days showcases the decline of Web 2.0.

The discourse is overheated. Misinformation is rampant. It’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not anymore. Users are fleeing. News outlets can’t trust the platforms.

So where does digital news go from here?

There are clues in what trends are accelerating, according to Jeff Jarvis, a media critic and a journalism professor at the City University of New York.

For example, specialized newsletters and podcasts for niche audiences are rising in popularity, he said.

Chaos on social sites

There are also more paid subscriptions, instead of ad-dependent news sites, as well as communities around nerdy topics on platforms like Reddit and Discord.

And there has been growth in sites that recommend and spread news stories that aren’t just interested in instant virality.

Like Artifact, an app started by the co-founders of Instagram focused on delivering quality online news and weeding out clickbait.

We don’t need to operate at the scale of mass media, or the scale of Silicon Valley and venture capital. Because all of these tools exist, we can get back to a human scale of small.

From large social media platforms to smaller and smaller communities is going to continue, and with it, the big Web 2.0 companies will cede power.

It took 150 years after Gutenberg before anyone thought to invent a newspaper. I think we’re talking about decades, maybe even generations, before we figure out this next stage,”

For digital media, the struggle is real, but the rebirth? That’s far from clear.

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