the news media was focused on telling everyone that G+ was nothing but an FB wannabe.
Yeah, that was a shame. I wonder, though, how much of that was driven by what we want to read. A few days ago I attended a mixer in SF and April Glaser was there, who covers the tech beat for Slate. She had spent the day covering Uber strikes, a big story.
She is utterly fascinating. I don't know where 2.5 hours went as we talked all things social media, but mixing with anyone else got away from us. She has very deep insights. However, journalists have to write the stories we humans will read — the ones the algorithms will surface — just like eateries have to serve the food we'll actually buy (pizza & beer). And the stories that got surfaced were about the clash of the titans, the epic bloody fight to the death for supremacy between giants Facebook and Google. We humans can't resist a good fight; we want to see blood. The algorithms know that about us. Those stories made us feel Google+ was a head-on competitor to Facebook.
I'll give a personal example. I funded and helped make a short YouTube film about photography from the International Space Station. We got NASA to cooperate and send it out in all their social media channels. I saw that it got voted up high on Reddit the other day as "a masterpiece." I have cried each time I've watched it (probably 25 times) because it shows how beautiful earth is. It shows the earth really is round. In this case, me and filmmaker Anton Lorimer were the journalists.
But YouTube's AI knows: we humans have a weakness for stories about NASA exposed: decades of coverup revealed. So YouTube's algorithm isn't going to recommend our little film, it recommends the ones that cause us to choose more videos about what else the government is hiding. Do we blame the AI, the news media, or ourselves?
If anyone wants a diversion from this heavy topic, here's a few minutes of the gorgeous blue round orb we live on. Unlike the AI, I won't link to the conspiracy videos.