The stream is broken

One of the key innovations in social media was Facebook’s newsfeed and it transformed the site from a social network built around profiles to a truly engaging communication platform. But as every site with a focus on social has adopted a feed, the noise seem to have reached an unproductive level. No viral marketing strategy is complete without a site encouraging their users to push updates to their social networks, tools help to cross-post easily (e.g. Twitter stream into Facebook) or re-post several times (apparently between 2-4 times is ideal) and breaking news situations clock the social stream with duplicates. No wonder that even the time of the day matters if your social signal is being heard or not.

All this unfiltered noise makes it harder and harder to find the really good stuff within a social stream and the opportunity seems to be shifting away from publishing to curation. Facebook has done a very good job with EdgeRank but as social services multiply we need better tools that do this across different sites (perhaps based on vertical-specific approaches) and take all social signals into account to determine what is relevant for me and cut out the noise and spam. I am excited about the progress that my portfolio company Summify has made over the last little while – their Email Digest product sends you a daily newsletter with the top stories from your Google Reader, Facebook and Twitter accounts (and the quality speaks for itself) but I would love to see more approaches to curation and filtering that brings productivity back to the social stream.

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