Feedback loops

Communities are often accused of being feedback loops. We naturally gravitate towards things, ideas, people that support or confirm our opinions.

Filter bubbles are blamed for divisions in opinion and society, just look at what happened during the US election and the run up to Brexit.

Being a Google property, Google Plus has long been considered a hotbed of anti-Apple (or, at least, anti-iOS) rhetoric where Android can do no wrong.

It's only natural.

Highly engaged and devoted Google Plus users are far more likely to have Android phones and people get very passionate about their platform of choice.

For some reason I clicked on the link to see the all time most popular posts on my blog. The top three posts, and by some margin, all had something in common:

  • they were all about Google Plus, and
  • they were all shared on Google Plus

Communities just love reading and talking about themselves and the platforms they run on.

All social networks go through a "meta" stage when the biggest topic of conversation is the network itself. We expect this while everyone gets used to a new way of doing things and deciding, as a collective, if that way is adequate or can be improved.

But my example above really brought home just how self-reinforcing these things can be. For these three posts to be the most "popular" purely because of a loop effect is... Worrying? Disappointing?

I'm not exactly sure of the emotion or the words I need to describe it, but I know that it's not the way things should be.