The Art Of The Share On Tsū & Other Social Networks

The more often a quality piece of content is highlighted online, the more likely it will be shared via social networks. In tandem, the more times something is shared, the greater the likelihood that citizen journalism will help it morph into credit-worthy content. This cause and effect allows topical, enlightening and motivating posts, tweets, status updates to wend their way into a user’s personal blog or local news site. From there, the more shares, the greater the opportunity for this content to be vetted and elevated into mainstream news status.

The Early Share

In early Web 2.0 dating back over a decade, this process in social networks was referred to as “wisdom of crowds,” where the best content was analagous to the cream always rising to the top, as the result of reinforced sharing by a multitude of networkers.  Often referred to as “sharing is caring,” it was an unspoken circle of trust amongst the digerati and their followers who felt validation when these types of posts could be shared in wider and wider circles.

Pathway to News

Flash forward to September 24, 2014 and the Pew Research Center conducted a survey that showed that roughly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults use Facebook, and half of those users get their daily dose of news there — amounting to 30% of the general population. Equally as surprising was that Google’s YouTube touches 51% of America’s adults with 10% of them accessing the site to keep up with the news.

No other networks come close to those stats, with Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn coming in at 8%,4% and 3% respectively.

The Tainted Share

TheTheWith that 30% using Facebook every day in place of mainstream new sites such as CNN, Fox News, Huffington Post or the New York Times, one would assume that ‘shares’ are more valid today than ever before.

However, according to a good number of tech reviews, it’s quite the contrary.

For instance, Slate correspondent Will Oremis in a Business Insider op-ed piece stated, “Facebook’s news feed remains a hotbed of hoaxes, lies, and conspiracy theories.”

“True, Facebook didn’t invent the viral hoax. It just happens to be the perfect 21st-century venue for the propagation of scams and urban legends that would have propagated by word of mouth, tabloid, or chain letter in earlier eras. But Facebook amplifies misinformation at a speed and on a scale that exceeds what was possible before,” adds Oremis.

It’s All in the Algo. . .

However, this would not have to be the case, if Facebook were to spend as much time tinkering with their algorithms versus being fixated on their users' status feeds (for more on this topic, see, “Facebook’s Feed Tinkering, The Social Experiment That Foreshadowed Tsu”)

One tactic that could be employed to clean up these tainted shares would be a simple fix. Facebook’s algorithm could add triggers that would catch keywords such as “hoax” or “debunked” or would identify rumor-mill sites such as Snopes.com. In so doing, these signals would flag these shares as those received through ill-gotten means. And while it doesn’t have to censor them outright, it could instead just remove them from becoming viral shares.

The Tsu Share

When the new social network Tsu (pronounced “Sue”) launched on October 14, 2014 with a $7 million investment led by Sancus Capital Prive, we all got a glimpse at a brand new way of social networking. The premise: this network actually shares its ad revenue with its user base — in exchange for the content they post to the site.

Founder Sebastian Sobczak having studied the social network that went before took these factors into consideration when he built this new social networking mousetrap. In addition to distinguishing his platform with its ‘paid social’ monetization model, he was also cognizant that he needed to change up how ‘shares’ were going to be used and valued. 

To accomplish this, he simply instituted a number of limitations, with the most restrictive being the number of shares you could post per day, namely only 8. In so doing, he made social networkers for the first time become acutely aware of two things. First, that shares held greater value than likes (where you could post 1000) or comments (that were limitless) and secondly that it was important to use forethought before selecting what to share each day - less you run out of your alloted 8.

Analytics of the Tsu Share

Unfortunately, while Tsu provides users with analytics to view every component that that makes up its algorithm in consideration for the monetary royalty pay-outs, it failed to include the daily analytical break-down on ‘shares.’ Don’t know if this was an oversight when the network launched out of beta, or it’s still something yet to be tweaked.

So with tongue-and-cheek, I posted an ‘ODE TO A SHARE’ in hopes that the powers-to-be might respond and add this important component to the users analytics page. To date, I have not received any feedback, but a few of my fellow Tsu ‘friends’ have notified me that indeed ‘shares’ do appear on the analytics page for Android users. So, I’m sure in due course we will see it pop up on the website in addition in the iOS for iPhones.

Tsumming it up. . .

While Facebook, the largest social network in the world allows shares to continue to be devalued, it’s encouraging that the young upstart has learned a few lessons along way, and instead of just replicating the same outdated formula, actually took an entirely new and innovative approach to help vet the more important ’shares’ by its social networkers.

Your thoughts readers? Is there more work to be done to improve this vetting process and what do you think of Tsu’s solution? Is it effective or does it require more tweaking yet still?