The death of the news feed

Ben Evans has a very thoughtful essay on his Blog about the intrinsic contradictions of social media. It’s basically about digital overload and is long and complicated and so worth reading in full. But he provides a useful summary towards the end, which goes like this:

All social apps grow until you need a newsfeed
All newsfeeds grow until you need an algorithmic feed
All algorithmic feeds grow until you get fed up of not seeing stuff/seeing the wrong stuff & leave for new apps with less overload
All those new apps grow until…

— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) January 22, 2018

I’m reminded of Clay Shirky’s famous aphorism that “there’s no such thing as information overload; it’s just filter failure”. Evans’s point is that normal human beings can’t — or won’t — use filters.