Stepping out of the firehose

A great essay by benedict Evans.

The first generation of internet services tried to help with filters and settings, but most normal people ignore the settings and don’t want to write filters, and so we very quickly went to systems that tried to help automatically. Gmail has its priority inbox, and social networks build recommendation engines and algorithmic feeds. Given that the average Facebook user is apparently eligible to see over a thousand items a day, it seems (or seemed) to make sense to try to show the video of your niece before the special offer from a restaurant you ate at five years ago. So your feed becomes a sample – an informed guess of the posts you might like most. This has always been a paradox of Facebook product – half the engineers work on adding stuff to your feed and the other half on taking stuff out.

Benedict Evans