Finding the important posts on Facebook and Twitter

fb filterFacebook’s algorithm hides important posts in its newsfeed and Twitter’s overwhelming volume obfuscates them

After reading Walt Mossberg’s story Twitter has become secret-handshake software on the Verge, Dave Winer thought out loud on Facebook that “what Walt said about Twitter applied equally to Facebook.”

Perhaps Dave, Walt Mossberg and I are interested in the same special Twitter and Facebook use cases – My use case is breaking news, interesting developments and tasty treats that reflect the personalities of the people who run the companies and develop the technologies that we follow and write about.

Facebook’s filters don’t work for me. Technology related posts aren’t prioritized to the top of my newsfeed the way Robert Scoble says they should. I may be interfering with Facebook’s algorithm because I am fascinated and simultaneously horrified by American politics and post too frequently about it. Facebook filters much from the raw newstream and gives me what it thinks I want with about 20% accuracy.

Twitter is just raw data dropping the most recent tweet on top of the stack. I prefer this to Facebook’s approach.

As I look at both Twitter and Facebook’s APIs, custom filters are pretty easy to build. Here’s what I think the options are:

Convert Twitter and FB feeds to RSS on a tablet and just swipe through really quickly a couple times a day.

Tweetdeck gives basic keyword and handle filtering – it works well until about 15 rows and then my i7 16GB computer starts to protest. (Here I share Walt’s opinion that Tweetdeck needs improvement. At the top of my suggestions for Tweetdeck’s product manager is a scripting capability within columns; simple sandboxed JS would do.)

RSS and regex – Yahoo Pipes was really good at that but there are many ways to accomplish the same thing. Basic maintenance of the regex filter is an ongoing burden because interests change.

Find everything by Steven Max Patterson on Twitter @stevep2007

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