How the Internet Ate Media: The Impact of Social Media and the Rise of Post-Truth Era

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Hatched by Glasp

Sep 03, 2023

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How the Internet Ate Media: The Impact of Social Media and the Rise of Post-Truth Era

In today's digital age, the influence of social media platforms cannot be ignored. From breaking news to shaping public opinion, platforms like Twitter have revolutionized the way we consume media. But with this power comes a great responsibility, as the toxic behavior on Twitter often spills over into other parts of the internet. The explosion of truth on social media has exposed the superficiality of traditional media institutions, giving rise to a "public" that can challenge the elites directly.

One of the most significant changes brought about by social media is the flattening of the relationship between the elites and the general public. Journalists, who were once seen as the sole arbiters of truth, are now just another voice on social media. The public determines who is an actual journalist, and this has led to a fragmentation of truth. With multiple voices and conflicting narratives, it becomes increasingly challenging to discern what is real and what is not.

It is essential to recognize that the internet, and particularly Twitter, offers a hyper-accelerated OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) loop. The faster one moves through this loop, the harder it becomes for opponents to understand reality, giving an advantage to those who can manipulate perception. Twitter has the power to disrupt all other forms of reality perception, influencing what we see and believe on other platforms as well.

But was pre-internet journalism actually better? The rise of social media platforms has not only changed the business of journalism but also our perceptions of it. Perhaps past journalism was not necessarily of better quality, but rather, our ignorance made us view it as great. The internet has given rise to new cultures, ways of thinking, and ideas, leading to more cultural innovation. The truth is, the internet has fundamentally changed the media landscape, and there is no going back.

On a different note, the success of Medium's Highlights feature has forever changed the publishing industry. The team at Medium recognized the value of making sharing writing easier and turned their platform into one of the leading online publishing platforms. This feature, which allows readers to highlight and interact with the content, has garnered praise from both readers and writers.

Highlights not only make the reading experience more social but also provide writers with valuable feedback. By pinpointing the most engaging parts of their posts, writers can improve their content and connect with their audience on a deeper level. Furthermore, Medium's engagement-focused approach has led to higher user retention and sustainable growth.

The success of Medium's Highlights feature teaches us several valuable lessons. First, vanity metrics like views or clicks do not necessarily measure engagement. It is crucial to find a metric that truly reflects the value users are getting from the product. Second, user feedback and learnings are invaluable. Listening to users, both within and outside the company, can lead to significant improvements and innovations. Finally, it is essential to understand that not everyone uses the product the same way. Considering the diverse needs and preferences of users can lead to a more user-centric product.

In conclusion, the internet and social media have transformed the media landscape, giving rise to a post-truth era where multiple voices and conflicting narratives create a sense of distrust. Platforms like Twitter have the power to disrupt all other forms of reality perception, influencing what we see and believe. Simultaneously, platforms like Medium have revolutionized publishing by creating interactive features like Highlights, which enhance the reading experience and provide valuable feedback to writers. To navigate this new media landscape, it is crucial to prioritize engagement over vanity metrics, listen to user feedback, and understand the diverse needs of users. The internet has eaten media, and it is up to us to adapt and thrive in this new reality.

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