Twitter & Facebook – Streams, or flood?

Twitter and Facebook focus their experiences on the presentation of real-time streams of information showing ‘what a person is doing’ at any given period in time.  That being said, it seems that these streams are swiftly overflowing and becoming floods.

On Twitter, for instance, if you follow folks like Scoble, or Owyang, you get TONS of updates.  While you may even enjoy those updates, the interface is not particularly conducive to helping you manage through all that information.  While Facebook offers much better controls to manage the visualization of your steams via filters, it isn’t much better.   In particular, Facebook is pretty bad because applications tend to quickly use (abuse) the stream so it is filled with junk.  And God forbid you have over 400 friends/followed folks in either FB, or Twitter – you are in hell.

The winner of the battle for your activity stream attention will provide the best interface for QUICKLY transforming this flood of information into useful and management streams.   If they don’t, both are going to lose some serious attention from users.

hoomanradfar Written by:

  • Why can't Twitter or Facebook be smarter about this stuff, and put friends on different tiers?

    Twitter: If I send messages "@" another user, they go to tier 1.

    Facebook: If I write on a particular user's wall, they go to tier 1.

    Just show me the tier 1 friends' streams… everyone else is tier 2.

  • Hooman,

    You have touched upon what I believe is going to be the, next great algorithm war. Now that it's relatively easy to pull multiple streams together, the service can that can overlay the best defensible filtering algorithm to efficiently scan all these updates is going to win.

  • I absolutely agree that there will be a huge play on the algorithm portion. That being said, don't you think there can be a huge pick-up in user experience by working on better interfaces? Twitter, for example, is still pretty early on that front…

  • Agree. Look how much better FriendFeed and Facebook are when you segregate users into groups so that your family's updates don't get lost in the flow. What if these services tapped into existing groups you've set up on GMail and created/updated your channels automatically? This would greatly improve the experience for all those people that don't change the defaults or don't know how to set up groups.

  • I really dig the filters/lists that you can setup currently with FB. It allows me to segment out the fire house into something that's much more meaningful.

    This is also what made TweetDeck so novel. I can take my twitter friends, group them up, and put each group into a separate column. It made it manageable to have 800 friends.

    I really didn't like FB when it tried to use an algo to figure out what I did and didn't want to see in my news feed. I feel like it always got it wrong. I was always missing stuff that I felt was important. I'm getting more out of FB with the new design then ever before.

  • Me too. I hate to say it, but I think the new new facebook trumps the new facebook.