It’s time for slow-cial media
In a bid to fight online misinformation, BBC News has a concept called ‘slow news’ that prioritises, as Digiday described it last year
, in-depth text pieces, and video explainers along with data visualization and statistics-led pieces that take longer to produce.
Quality over quantity; thinking before you publish – that’s the general idea. And it’s time tech companies take a similar approach to social media.
In the past couple of days alone, we’ve seen the Cambridge Analytica scandal and YouTube recommending conspiracy theories to children. Facebook alone has a catalogue of missteps
when it comes to respecting users, and then there’s Twitter’s continuing failure to deal with abuse on its platform… you know the list, it goes on and on.
At the same time, users show an increasingly vocal distaste for algorithmic feeds, and now basically just assume they’re being surveilled even in ways that aren’t possible
. And every now and then they flock to an app like Vero as a refreshing alternative – but quickly return to the apps all their friends continue to use that have embedded themselves in our lives.
Switching to a new social app is hard, but I can’t help but wonder when someone will truly nail ‘slow-cial media.’ It would offer a calmer approach to sharing with, and staying in touch with, friends. It wouldn’t rely on algorithms that put commercial interests over friendships. And if it offers content to kids, it will be handpicked by humans rather than left to dumb, blunt automation.
Basically, it would be social media built from the ground up to be respectful to users over all else.
Such an enterprise would likely soon miss the advantages that automation and algorithms provide for managing communities at scale, and the commercial model would need to be different to what we see today. Still, there’s got something better than what we have now, and it needs more than a few tweaks to existing products.