The secret formula

There are lots of secret formulas…

  • recipe for Coca-Cola
  • recipe for Kentucky Friend Chicken

…and it makes them unique and of value to us. One thing we know is that they’re consistent no matter where you order them.

To the list, I guess we can add Twitter’s notification formula. While reading Stephen Downes’ OLDaily this morning, I found his commentary on this article. Does Twitter’s Algorithm Hate Your Friends?

When I first joined Twitter (August 2007), I felt immediately that this would be the perfect learning environment for me. Just follow smart people to see what they’re thinking and learning and I too could think better and learn more.

I’ll admit that it got out of control for me and I probably follow more than I should. These days, though, I can’t guarantee that notifications will generate the best of breed stuff for me on a consistent basis.

For the longest time, I’ve tried to take better control of things by using Twitter lists. They’re private as I got tired of requests for me to add so and so to a list. I want to be in control of things so out of sight, out of mind.

Notably, there are some public lists that I maintain – Ontario Educators. In that case, I like to think that I’m paying back by sharing with anyone who cares to follow them. And some people do…

I’ve long suspected that there are more things going on that I care to spend the time to figure out. It seems to change; recently, we witnessed a visual attempt to adjust that and the feedback stopped it.

It’s not that it’s wrong; after all there is so much information flowing and somehow it needs to be presented in some sort of meaningful way. FIFO (First In, First Out) wouldn’t cut it since we’re stepping onto a moving train. Just because I log in at a certain time doesn’t mean that I only want messages going forward; there are just as valuable messages that have been previously posted. This magic formula works to make that happen somehow. It’s a huge task when you think about it.

The traditional follow process just doesn’t work to my liking.

For my purposes, Twitter lists seems to duck any sort of algorithm and show them in what to me, is a meaningful way.

To me, anyway. I do remember a discussion with an educator who was angry that I didn’t follow him even though I did my best to explain why I do what I do.

I’ve never done the research to the level of the author in the article so I did appreciate his efforts. It was kind of rewarding to see that his solution was lists like I’ve done.

Of course, there are the traditional ways of staying on top of things – hashtags, trending topics, “What’s Happening”, and so that definitely needs to be thrown into the mix.

Every time I try something, I feel like I’m getting closer to being on top of things until I miss something completely. That bring back a sense of humility that I must confess to not knowing exactly how Twitter works.

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