I love social networking, and the social media news streams that comes with it. I have a lot of family and friends all over the world. While it would be wonderful to be able to keep close contact over the phone, or in person, with each of them, it just isn’t feasible. Social networks make it much simpler, letting you keep involved in one another’s lives no matter where you are. All in a convenient format that maximizes communication despite distance, or even just lack of time.
Sure, it isn’t perfect. Some people will choose social networking over real life interaction, and a lot of friendships maintained that way can become shallow. But, when used correctly, it is a great way to remain close to others, discover new friends and a lot more. Social networking has a lot of functions, and I try to make the most out of every one, including social media news streams.
My favorite element of the social web is definitely the social media news streams and feeds that are on each one. I have customized mine to give priority to certain people, to let me keep in even closer contact. All while avoiding updates I don’t really want or need.
But, how do these social media news streams and feeds work? They are rather complicated, and each site has its own. Here is a simple glance at the news feeds of Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Quora.
Twitter is a micro-blogging platform, rather than a traditional social network like many others. They use a unique algorithm that provides live updates. This works as both a search function, and as part of their news feed. It also limits the number of tweets from each follower, and older tweets will disappear as new ones from your list are added.
All content, as a consequence, is entirely fresh. But it doesn’t allow you to go that far back, and to see older tweets you have to go to the actual profile page. Not all tweets will be kept over time there, either. Since tweets are so small, and so regularly updated, this is a benefit to most users.
=> See more of who sees what on Twitter using this cheat sheet for social media news streams.
Not all Facebook posts are created equal, and the developers know this. However, they do consider each user’s activity to be important, and so don’t single out any specific profile as less important than any other. To keep you from having to see every post by every person on your friends list, it uses EdgeRank to take a small portion from each friend to display.
You can customize settings, as well. Just select what kind of updates you want to get, allowing the most important for you to be both shown on your feed, and in your notifications. Other pages or users can be hidden from your feed entirely.
=> Read more about the social media news streams on Facebook here.
Google+ is entirely user customized. You select what kind of activity you want from each circle, keeping some silent, some partially ‘muted’, and others entirely active in your news feed. This puts control completely in your hands, rather than using the EdgeRank system in the same way Facebook does.
Quora is much more technical in their updates. They use Redis and MySQL to regular update content for users. But, you can get a full explanation through this excellent breakdown by Quora employee and developer Belinda Gu.
Have further details on other social networks and their newsfeeds? Let us know in the comments how they work!
By Jessy Troy
Author Bio: Jessy is the social media enthusiast and blogger stay at home for 4 years now. You can hear her tweet at @JessyTroy.